View Poll Results: Was Microsoft a monopoly back in the 1990s?

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    10 37.04%
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Thread: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

  1. #11
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    No, they aren't nor were they ever a monopoly in the operating system market. They have been for decades other options available to people. What their market share was or is has nothing to do with anything, honestly.
    Quite the opposite. They were in a strong enough position that they could manipulate other markets, which has everything to do with market share. The fact that there were minor alternatives is not relevent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henrin View Post
    I'm sorry but you either weren't alive when netscape was around or you forgot about netscape. Netscape wasn't killed because of packaging IE with windows, but instead that Netscape sucked, while, IE on the other hand, didn't.
    Indeed, netscape did suck.

  2. #12
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    From an internal Microsoft memo.

    "The Windows API is so broad, so deep, and so functional that most ISVs would be crazy not to use it. And it is so deeply embedded in the source code of many Windows apps that there is a huge switching cost to using a different operating system instead...
    "It is this switching cost that has given the customers the patience to stick with Windows through all our mistakes, our buggy drivers, our high TCO, our lack of a sexy vision at times, and many other difficulties [...] Customers constantly evaluate other desktop platforms, [but] it would be so much work to move over that they hope we just improve Windows rather than force them to move.
    "In short, without this exclusive franchise called the Windows API, we would have been dead a long time ago."

    Microsoft API's were written to increase the cost of porting an application to a new platform, raising the barrier to enter the market. When you combine this with their huge marketshare, you get a textbook example of monopolistic behavior.

    I'm sorry but you either weren't alive when netscape was around or you forgot about netscape. Netscape wasn't killed because of packaging IE with windows, but instead that Netscape sucked, while, IE on the other hand, didn't.
    Netscape was certainly a piece of crap, but IE was just as bad. IE only dominated because Microsoft used its desktop monopoly to force OEM's to bundle IE, and prevented them from bundling netscape. Netscape may or may not have succeeded on a competitive marketplace, but we will never know because they got squashed by an illegal exercise of monopolistic power.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    If nothing else, this thread is useful for exposing the absurd definition of monopoly that some use when they claim that monopolies are not natural. It helps me understand their argument (and why its wrong) better.

  4. #14
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    If nothing else, this thread is useful for exposing the absurd definition of monopoly that some use when they claim that monopolies are not natural. It helps me understand their argument (and why its wrong) better.
    The reason that Microsoft has such a huge market share: patents.

    Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents - May 28, 2007

    We would have much more competition if it were not for those protections.

    Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. Psalm 24
    "True law is right reason in agreement with nature . . . Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature [and] will suffer the worst penalties . . ." - Cicero

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    The reason that Microsoft has such a huge market share: patents.

    Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents - May 28, 2007

    We would have much more competition if it were not for those protections.
    Very astute observation! Yet some people would claim that government protection of patents doesn't help the rich get richer. I have to wonder why this obvious fact is so elusive to some people.

  6. #16
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    The reason that Microsoft has such a huge market share: patents.

    Microsoft claims software like Linux violates its patents - May 28, 2007

    We would have much more competition if it were not for those protections.
    Patents are a double edged sword, certainly. They are in cases both good and bad.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Patents are a double edged sword, certainly. They are in cases both good and bad.
    This is a consequentialist outlook. Patents can lead to good things for patent-holders and bad things for honest competition. So, from this point of view, whether or not patents are good or bad depends on whether you hold it.

    If we want to take a bird's eye view, though, and see what is good for free and competitive markets, it's quite different.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Incognito View Post
    This is a consequentialist outlook. Patents can lead to good things for patent-holders and bad things for honest competition. So, from this point of view, whether or not patents are good or bad depends on whether you hold it.

    If we want to take a bird's eye view, though, and see what is good for free and competitive markets, it's quite different.
    The benefit of patents is that they spur investment because of a greater chance for a return. That is the good part. The bad part is that they can be used to stifle competition. In the IT world, where things evolve quickly, this can be extra bad (especially when combined with our stupid copyright laws). However, the point is, while they do stifle competition, a good bit of that competition would not have existed in the first place without the motivation to invest and create new technologies to compete with.

    My opinion, based on being involved in patenting inventions, is that overall it is a good thing because technology is progressing faster than it would without patents. Again, that is an opinion based on my experience.
    Last edited by tacomancer; 02-12-11 at 05:06 PM.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    1) Software patents are completely and utterly absurd. They are so vague and obvious that you write right even the most basic program without violating someones patents. The only way to avoid getting sued is to have your own patents so you can counter-sue anyone who goes after you. If you want to see what a cluster**** the system has become look at this chart of patent lawsuits in the mobile phone world. Who’s Suing Whom In The Telecoms Trade? That chart was from October '10 and it has only gotten worse.

    2) Patents are not responsible for Microsoft's ongoing monopoly. They didn't kill their competition through patent lawsuits in the 90's, they used their non-government backed monopoly.
    Last edited by rathi; 02-12-11 at 05:35 PM.

  10. #20
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElijahGalt View Post
    mo·nop·o·ly   /məˈnɒpəli/ Show Spelled
    [muh-nop-uh-lee] Show IPA

    –noun, plural -lies.
    1. exclusive control of a commodity or service in a particular market, or a control that makes possible the manipulation of prices.

    By this definition, Microsoft was not a monopoly. They did not have absolute control over the market, and there was no real evidence of them manipulating prices. The primary concern of a monopoly is that one company will be able to gain control of an entire market and fix, control, and raise prices. Microsoft, on the other hand, was one of the first software companies to offer the common man one of the most state-of-the-art electronics at reasonable prices. Microsoft adhered to a legal contract made with IBM that gave him exclusive rights to bind IE with PC hardware.



    That's a hollow statement. You need to elaborate in order to proceed further. First you need to state how Microsoft strong-armed OEMs. My idea of contract rights might be your idea of negative exploitation.
    Microsoft was a price setter, not a price taker in terms of their operating system and MS Office products.
    It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
    "Wealth of Nations," Book V, Chapter II, Part II, Article I, pg.911

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