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

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Thread: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

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    Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Do you think Microsoft was a monopoly back in the 1990s?

    United States v. Microsoft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Here is the jist of it.

    I tend to believe Microsoft was not guilty of being a monopoly. It was their product and their contract with IBM. It is no more a monopoly then say, when a person walks into a KFC and is offered ONLY Pepsi products but no Coke products.

    Your thoughts?

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    No. A monopoly can only be gained with government privilege, otherwise you are always subject to the whims of the market and can lose your market share at any time.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    No. A monopoly can only be gained with government privilege, otherwise you are always subject to the whims of the market and can lose your market share at any time.
    I tend to agree with Friedman when he claimed there are true private monopolies, but they are extremely hard to find. Milton referenced the De Beers Diamond industry and one other industry (I can't remember the other one).

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElijahGalt View Post
    I tend to agree with Friedman when he claimed there are true private monopolies, but they are extremely hard to find. Milton referenced the De Beers Diamond industry and one other industry (I can't remember the other one).
    In a capitalist economy they do not exist. Simply put. Even the mythical Standard Oil was not one as it was losing market share by the time of the antitrust case.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Microsoft was (and is) a monopoly company when it comes to the desktop operating system market. They have a large enough market share to meet the qualification. That said, simply having a monopoly alone is not illegal. The case against Microsoft was based on using its monopoly to destroy competition in other software based segments, like the web browser market. Microsoft used its windows monopoly to destroy Netscape, by bundling internet explorer with windows for free. This was a deliberate action, as revealed in e-mails. After Netscape was ruined, Microsoft dramatically slowed adding news features to internet explorer as they no longer had serious competition until Mozilla showed up. Microsoft later lied in court by pretending that IE and windows were one product and could not be separated, but were proven wrong. Eventually, Microsoft was determined to have used their monopoly illegally, but they were given a slap on the wrist as punishment. Microsoft also messed with software API's to hurt other companies products and strong-armed OEM's into not including competitors products.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Microsoft was (and is) a monopoly company when it comes to the desktop operating system market. They have a large enough market share to meet the qualification. That said, simply having a monopoly alone is not illegal. The case against Microsoft was based on using its monopoly to destroy competition in other software based segments, like the web browser market. Microsoft used its windows monopoly to destroy Netscape, by bundling internet explorer with windows for free. This was a deliberate action, as revealed in e-mails. After Netscape was ruined, Microsoft dramatically slowed adding news features to internet explorer as they no longer had serious competition until Mozilla showed up. Microsoft later lied in court by pretending that IE and windows were one product and could not be separated, but were proven wrong. Eventually, Microsoft was determined to have used their monopoly illegally, but they were given a slap on the wrist as punishment.
    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.

    Microsoft also messed with software API's to hurt other companies products and strong-armed OEM's into not including competitors products.
    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.
    Last edited by Mensch; 02-11-11 at 08:21 PM.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    The problem with this discussion is that it is obvious that we have a different idea of what a monopoly is. I believe in this case, Microsoft was an audience because they were able to use their position to achieve a level of lock-in and lock out interoperability of other systems.

    It is absurd to raise the standard of what a monopoly is to the position of being absolutely unassailable by market forces when the artificial raising of barriers for other entities would suffice.

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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    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.
    Microsoft does has absolute control over the desktop OS market, with 90+% marketshare. The only reason price fixing cannot be determined is because nobody actually knows what a reasonable price for a desktop OS is because there has been no real competition in more than 20 years.

    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 jacked up the prices of Windows to any OEM who sold computers with a competing OS or software.

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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.
    That is a dictionary definition that does not adequately describe what the term means, but even then the definition only requires that there be a level of control that makes price manipulation possible, rather than requiring that such manipulation take place. I agree with Rathi that Microsoft is still a monopoly in the operating system arena.
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    Re: Was Microsoft a monopoly in the 1990s?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    Microsoft was (and is) a monopoly company when it comes to the desktop operating system market. They have a large enough market share to meet the qualification. That said, simply having a monopoly alone is not illegal.
    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.

    The case against Microsoft was based on using its monopoly to destroy competition in other software based segments, like the web browser market. Microsoft used its windows monopoly to destroy Netscape, by bundling internet explorer with windows for free. This was a deliberate action, as revealed in e-mails.
    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.
    Last edited by Henrin; 02-11-11 at 09:36 PM.

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