Oh, leave the poor guy alone already.
February 14, 2001 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Oh, leave the poor guy alone already. Not the much-harrassed ex-president Clinton this time, but rather Bill Gates and co., who are in the Justice Department's crosshairs yet again, due to Microsoft's investments in Corel.
posted by Sapphireblue (14 comments total)
What bothers me about this one is that if Microsoft hadn't handed a pile of money to Corel, they'd be bankrupt now. Just how does saving a competitor harm competition?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:12 PM on February 14, 2001

For anyone who subscribes to the WSJ, they're the ones who broke the story.
posted by Sapphireblue at 4:15 PM on February 14, 2001

Steven - I think the issue should be that Microsoft has gutted and monopolized the market to the point that the only competition they have is a crippled company that they are keeping propped up for appearances.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:34 PM on February 14, 2001

I am human and have a heart and all. However, please please don't say "the poor guy" in reference to Bill Gates. It is an insult to money.
posted by jasonshellen at 4:48 PM on February 14, 2001

Keeping an unhealthy competitor alive can let one avoid the appearance of being a monopoly. Not that that really works...
posted by dws at 4:49 PM on February 14, 2001

I'm with Jasonshellen. Bill Gates deserves almost all criticism he gets for his immoral business tactics.
posted by jragon at 5:33 PM on February 14, 2001

awww, it's not like he got the money by stealing from starving children . . .
posted by grimmelm at 5:38 PM on February 14, 2001

Immoral business tactics? Tell me what moral code says "Thou shalt not be a monopoly", "Thou shalt not make operating systems that crash", etc. I think that's taking things a little too far. It's not like they contributed to the holocaust or something.
posted by dagnyscott at 5:56 PM on February 14, 2001

Immoral is irrelevant. Illegal is enough for my money, and Microsoft's leverage of their monopoly power is clearly a violation of the laws of the United States. Immoral, illegal, who cares what semantic angle you approach from. Evil is evil.
posted by Vetinari at 9:11 PM on February 14, 2001

I don't quite understand where you guys get this idea of the Microsoft monopoly. In what way does Microsoft have a MONOPOLY over the software market. Someone please explain. There is a huge number of alternatives out there. OS's like Linux are just as good.. and guess what? FREE.

A monopoly technically has the ability to set its prices. They are not price-takers but price-makers. I don't think you could say MS is a price-taker here.

Opera makes a pretty snazzy web browser, Netscape 6 is not too shabby.. How is Internet Explorer monopolizing the web browser market. IE is the choice of consumers because it is simply a better browser. Hands down.

MS Office? How is this a monopoly? If I remember correctly, a certain product now being offered by Corel used to dominate the word processing market. Did MS cry foul when Word didn't have a huge market share? No. They went out and made a better product and people started using it. End of story.

What we have here is a case of monopolistic competition. Similar yet slightly differentiated outputs... MS just happens to understand a few things about selling software. And that's why people buy MS products.
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 12:56 AM on February 15, 2001

Vetinari: Immoral, illegal, who cares what semantic angle you approach from. Evil is evil.

Illegal by itself does not imply evil. Not all laws are moral; not all laws are good.
posted by grimmelm at 1:04 AM on February 15, 2001

The government could better spend taxpayers money instead of trying to use their money to sue Microsoft ... and all those companies could just try and make a "better" program instead of suing just coz they can't do business .. sore losers!
posted by loong at 3:11 AM on February 15, 2001

PWA_BadBoy, if you read the findings of fact from the anti-trust trial, you'll see that Microsoft didn't just "[go] out and [make] a better product." They illegally used their monopoly of business OSes (ie - Windows) to stifle competition by not releasing the Windows APIs until late in the game, thus winning the office war.
posted by mzanatta at 11:23 AM on February 15, 2001

M Zanatta, I suppose it bears repeating: the "finding of fact" doesn't become a legal fact until after the appellate process is concluded. I think there's a very good chance that the Circuit court will rewrite it. Judge Jackson has run afoul that circuit court before, and they outrank him.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:09 PM on February 15, 2001

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