Linked by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:03 UTC
Editorial I hear often that when something new appears that "competition is good". The primary reasons competition is seen as good, are: it drives down prices; it gives consumers more choice; it pushes technology forward, quicker. Competition is not good because: competition is why consumers have to choose between HD-DVD and BluRay; competition is why DRM exists; and more. In this article, each of the supposed benefits of competition will be looked at in more detail.
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Hm
by Nelson on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:17 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

I think competition is good simply for the fact that it forces people to do just that -- compete. If there was just HD-DVD or just Blu-Ray..what's the incentive to develop these technologies further?

There is none, the format is dominated, it's widely accepted, and it's controlled by one company.

This is never good, choice is always good.

The Blu-Ray / HD-DVD battle wont last too long, one will come out the winner in the household over the next few years.

I guarantee that they won't be in their current form, but most likely a revised form with an even greater feature set thanks to the fact that they compete.

Reply Score: 14

RE: Hm
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:39 UTC in reply to "Hm"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

The CD was invented collaboratively. Why not a single successor to DVD? Now we get stupid crap like Paramount going HD-DVD only and screwing over every single BluRay owner (including Sony's PS3), for what is essentially the exact same content and quality. This is an anti-competitive action brought about by the presence of competition in the first place.

If there was a single standard agreed on for HD content, then we wouldn't be having this stupid game of charades and trying to justify that the expensive BluRay player people have bought, is not in fact junk.

There shouldn't have to be a BluRay / HD-DVD battle in the first place! Having a Winner of a pointless war proves nothing what so ever.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Hm
by alexandru_lz on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

> This is an anti-competitive action brought about by the presence of competition in the first place.

Very true. The problem with competition is that we are simply not in the eighties anymore (and even back then, we weren't in the seventies anymore :-P). The IT industry has converted from being a field ran by engineers to one ran by businessmen, who run it like they run fast food restaurants: once you get an edge over your competitors, you need to keep it and kill them off. The clients are only the means of achieving domination.

Basically, there's no guarantee that any of the companies will keep a fair competition, and this is the problem I see with competition in IT. The problem is that IT is a domain that still has a huge way to progress. Unfair competition in the market of fizzy drinks can't do any harm to buyers. Unfair competition in IT has already set us back several years, in at least a couple of important sectors (usability, WWW etc.)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Hm
by kwanbis on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
kwanbis Member since:
2005-07-06

competition on the same standard is diferent than competing standards.

Competition is always good, the problem here is that competing standards create a difficult time till one wins.

Think IE. It got no competition, so no updates in 6 years.

Now FF is the competition, and sudenly we have IE7.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Hm
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hm"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

Now FF is the competition, and sudenly we have IE7.

"""

I'd hardly say "suddenly". It took a long time to get development rolling again, since IE had been dormant for so long.

The keystone cops style fiasco of Mozilla, from initial Netscape source code release, through the hugely unpopular Mozilla Suite, to its emergence as the relatively (though still marginally) successful Firefox, is probably outside the scope of this thread.

But in the end, yes, FF has, through competition, benefited users of both browsers, as well as those of other browsers.

The free market... and competition... work. Albeit sometimes on an excruciatingly long time scale. It's a slow process anyway. And there are so many ways for the more powerful entities to game the system.

But in the end, the gaming... the cheats... end up doing nothing but buying time. And the abusing party has to actually get back to reality and compete.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Hm
by tspears on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:50 UTC in reply to "Hm"
tspears Member since:
2006-05-22

Competition is great, but there has to be a way to allow competing technologies to interact. Especially in the case of Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD, where the competiton has gone beyond improving upon a technology and has, instead, split the market... You are right, that one will emerge and it will be vastly better (we hope anyways), but in the mean time the consumer is getting thrown for a loop

Reply Score: 1

RE: Hm
by Nossie on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:38 UTC in reply to "Hm"
Nossie Member since:
2007-07-31

WTF ?

REAL Competition is good... look at the recent pay offs to HDDVD...

If it wasn't for the backhanding, lobbying and Sony having its mitts in an entrenched media market we may not have had this issue to begin with!!

Fair competition is ALWAYS good

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Hm
by Nossie on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:40 UTC in reply to "RE: Hm"
Nossie Member since:
2007-07-31

and to add... the only reason DRM exists is because the technology still exists

The media and publishing cartels have wanted their hands on consumers rights for hundreds of years (look at libraries) but its only NOW that technology can prevent what a user does with his second hand books and media AFTER they have read/watched them.

Reply Score: 2

what you are saying
by Redeeman on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:18 UTC
Redeeman
Member since:
2006-03-23

doesent seem to be that competition is not good, rather that another, entirely different thing, is better - which is true.

but take this example.

what if there were only 1 vendor, there'd be no "friendly competition"(aka flavour of the same standard), which would mean, as your IE example, that NOTHING happens at all.. which most certainly is not as good as two vendors trying to beat each other to death.

Reply Score: 5

Oops...
by Noremacam on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:19 UTC
Noremacam
Member since:
2006-03-08

Quote: "When the opponent is beaten, there is no need to continue with any of the competitive actions, such as lowering prices or improving technology. Competition ultimately ends with stagnation and vendor lock in."

Isn't that an argument for competition? As soon as competition stops the winning product stagnates? Look at Internet Explorer 6. It stagnated until firefox hit the big scene. I think that's an argument for competition, not against it.

Reply Score: 26

Two kinds of competition
by RandomGuy on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:51 UTC in reply to "Oops..."
RandomGuy Member since:
2006-07-30

Yep, that's what I thought, too.

To me it seems there are two kinds of competition:
competition of products and competition of formats/standards.

The first is obviously good as we can see by the IE example.
If somebody creates a competing product, say, a nicer web browser or DVD player, etc, I cannot see the harm.

It is only when different companies try to dominate the market by pushing their own, incompatible and often closed "standards" that competition becomes harmful.

This is what has happened with IE-only sites or Documents in some closed formats:
You are locked into using one application because the data is not stored in an open format or (in the case of IE-only sites) uses behavior of IE that is not part of an open standard. Another example are DVD or video formats.

I think a good comparison (don't be afraid, no cars ahead ;-)) are railways:
You can have competing companies, using different kinds of trains and having different schedules and prices but the basic, underlying infrastructure has to be standardized. It does not make sense for every company to use a different, incompatible railway type.

Formats/standards/infrastructure is, imo, one of the few areas where competition and free market lead to suboptimal results.
The reason is that competition works best on a level playing field. By allowing competition on data formats and standards you basically allow the players to change the playing field and the outcome will very likely be tilted in favor of whoever puts most money in pushing his own "standard".

Reply Score: 10

RE: Oops...
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:42 UTC in reply to "Oops..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It's a cycle. You get competition, and one wins, then you get stagnation, and then it starts over again. Nobody really wins in this cycle. It feels like good is happening, but that's just the cycle of movement.

If there was no competition, Microsoft would have supported the standards in IE because they wanted too. There wouldn't be a reason to exclude standards for anti-competitive actions et al.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Oops...
by rhyder on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:11 UTC in reply to "RE: Oops..."
rhyder Member since:
2005-09-28

I don't agree with your point, Kroc. In the PC hardware market, there are lots of competing companies. You predict that stagnation is the inevitable consequence of competition. Yet, the hardware market features a steady pace of innovation and new development.

As someone else pointed out, MS went years without developing IE. They kept improving their product when they had competition and resumed improvements when substantial competition reemerged.

If it weren't for desktop Linux and the Mac, I'm sure that we would still be running Windows 95, at best.

Who knows how far things would have developed in terms of operating systems and software if MS had been kept under control and forced to operate within the law?

You seem to repeatedly state a principle that competition leads inevitably to stagnation but there are many perfectly healthy technology markets in which competition is fierce and development is healthy. PC hardware and mobile phones would be two obvious examples.

What motive would a single producer of VHS videos and cassettes have to develop a successor if it were not for competition? Same argument goes for a single producer of 286 PCs.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Oops...
by Adurbe on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:16 UTC in reply to "Oops..."
Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

The reason for the stagnation was the goal of the company involved.

Microsoft created IE to BEAT Netscape, not for the user to browse the web. As such when its goal was complete it didnt need to do anything else.

Competition is a good thing only if the GOAL is good

Reply Score: 4

Pick a better target
by Luminair on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:22 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

Greed is why consumers have to choose between HD-DVD and BluRay; HD DVD would be alone if Sony didn't have a history of wanting to make more money pushing their special systems with their restrictive licenses.

Greed is why DRM exists. Some companies believe strong control over their content is the best way to sell more content because they can prevent sharing. Others look at it in reverse: content sharing creates more consumers who are then, in a moral and just society, willing to reward the content creator fairly for his or her work.

Competition is why we are alive and Homo habilis is dead, not why Bluray and DRM exist. So you're backwards -- the existence of Bluray creates competition, not the other way around.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Pick a better target
by zetsurin on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:46 UTC in reply to "Pick a better target"
zetsurin Member since:
2006-06-13

"Greed is why consumers have to choose between HD-DVD and BluRay; HD DVD would be alone if Sony didn't have a history of wanting to make more money pushing their special systems with their restrictive licenses."

That's moronic and delusional. Do you think out of all the players involved in these two competing formats, it's just Sony that is doing wrong?

Ever heard of Microsoft? They have a like of prioprietary that would make even Sony blush. And for every Sony format, there is one or more other formats - all proprietary! Reality check indeed.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Pick a better target
by edwdig on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:23 UTC in reply to "Pick a better target"
edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

Greed is why consumers have to choose between HD-DVD and BluRay; HD DVD would be alone if Sony didn't have a history of wanting to make more money pushing their special systems with their restrictive licenses.

Sony isn't the bad guy here. They created Blu-Ray from scratch, trying to create the best format. The end result was different enough from DVD that it was more cost effective to build new factories than to try to modify the existing factories to make Blu-Ray discs.

A few companies didn't like that, and decided to sacrifice disc capacity to create a format that could be manufactured with minimal changes to the existing factories.

Now, the complications. People aren't in any rush to move to HD, partly due to the slow uptake of HD in general, and partly due to the format confusion. Demand for normal DVDs is going up, so the manufacturers have to make new factories anyway, which presumably are being built with the ability to make any of the 3 types of disc, greatly reducing the advantage of HD-DVD.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Pick a better target
by Robocoastie on Fri 31st Aug 2007 14:25 UTC in reply to "Pick a better target"
Robocoastie Member since:
2005-09-15

"Greed is why DRM exists. Some companies believe strong control over their content is the best way to sell more content because they can prevent sharing."

Good point. I hear MSFT's DRM schemes built into Vista defended because "they are just what they have to as the production companies mandated the DRM" - that's nonsense because a)MSFT invented WM DRM in the first place and b)MSFT owns and promotes HD-DVD.

So it's not HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray, its MSFT vs. Sony.

Don't believe either one of their smoke and mirror acts.

Reply Score: 0

Nice try, but...
by risbac on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:23 UTC
risbac
Member since:
2007-03-29

Your arguments are right, but to generalize about competitions from two examples (DRM and BluRay/HDDVD) is a bit too easy. If you have done some mathematics, you know it's not valid ;)

There are cases where competition is good, and cases where it's plain bad. When competition is for products relaying on common standards, then it works. You talked about IE and Firefox, that's a good example. Both rely on the HTML standard, and do NOT force the user to use their own standard. You choose the best product for the functionality you are looking for, and you can change whenever you want. That's a sane competition, you choose the product according to its merits.

HDDVD and Bluray are a bit different. Even if they both send video to a display, if you buy 200 bluray discs, you cannot switch to HDDVD easily. That can be a very poor competition. The sane competition about HD would be between manufacturers of players using all the same storage. Then you have to choose between players without really checking if your discs are compatible.

And you explain that competition means to beat the opponent. But who said that you will always succeed in beating the opponent and totally getting rid of it? That just does not happen in most cases. And when it happens, like with IE, it just goes to a monopoly, and you explained it's the worst situation.

Microsoft had no competition, so IE just didn't improve. So monopoly is the Devil, that's what you say, right?

The other possibility is competition, which leads to monopoly. So are we just doomed? ;) That's what I would understand from your demonstration.

I do think competition is the right thing, it pulls things up. But as I said, when it's about dragging customers to a locked system, it's as bad as monopoly which is more or less the same thing: you don't have the choice anymore. So maybe we could say that there are sane competitions and bad competitions? Any comments about this?

Edited 2007-08-30 13:26

Reply Score: 5

RE: Nice try, but...
by dbodner on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:18 UTC in reply to "Nice try, but..."
dbodner Member since:
2007-07-01

"So maybe we could say that there are sane competitions and bad competitions? Any comments about this? "

Agree completely. The car is the perfect reason to point out good competition. Japanese and European cars forced features into the American public that American manufacturers were forced to match if they wanted to keep business. If you got fed up with your car, the barrier to move to another car was low. Therefore, the consumer won.

Competition like BluRay vs HD DVD can hurt the consumer. The productions are fairly close to equivalent, at least to the point where the average consumer isn't going to notice. But choosing a format and investing in it could hurt the consumer 5 years down the road. There's a huge barrier to change in this technology once you've entered. It leads to people either getting burned years down the line when standards have been set, or a slow adoption rate (leading to consumers using dated technology).

There are times when competition is absolutely necessary. There are also times when standards are necessary to protect the consumer. I don't think these two need to be mutually exclusive.

Reply Score: 2

A rather odd opinion the author has
by Laurence on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:27 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

"The primary reasons competition is seen as good, are: [snip] it gives consumers more choice; [snip] Competition is not good because: competition is why consumers have to choose between HD-DVD and BluRay; competition is why DRM exists; and more."


What an odd argument to make. One minute the author is saying consumer choice is good, then the next moment he is implying that choice is bad.

More to the point - Sure DRM exists through capitalism paranoia, not through competition. There's plenty of examples of where competition doesn't have to be directly related to commercialisation (FOSS for example). Besides, and to quote the author, consumers have the choice to choose avoid DRM by using systems that don't endorse such shackles.

[edit - missed out quotes]

Edited 2007-08-30 13:30

Reply Score: 10

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

DRM is an anti-competitive measure created by the presence of competition. If companies worked together with no intention of trying to screw the other over, then DRM would not so much as pass anybody's mind.

I wasn't saying one thing; then another. The first line was simply paraphrasing what other's say that competition does, and then me providing alternative views on those items.

Reply Score: 2

JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

DRM is only to prevent competition between unpurchased (ie pirated) copies and purchased copies: it doesn't itself do a darn thing for competition between other producers, but only (at least in theory) protects the producers of something that uses DRM from being screwed by pirated copies of their works.

Where you came up with the concept that DRM was brought about by competition appears to be a red herring at best.

Reply Score: 3

I don't follow
by anomie on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:29 UTC
anomie
Member since:
2007-02-26

Car manufacturers compete for better price points and deals. The cost of electronics is generally driven down.

However price != TCO.
The constant battle for lower prices has pushed quality and reliability to absolute lows.


Do you have citations to demonstrate that reliability is at absolute lows? My impression has been that exactly the reverse of what you're saying is true in the US. The quality and reliability of American cars have improved (by having to compete with the Japanese).

Moreover, competition is exactly why DRM will fail in the end. What properly informed fellow will buy encumbered/copy-protected technologies when given a [u]choice[/u]?

Reply Score: 8

RE: I don't follow
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:58 UTC in reply to "I don't follow"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

I think the author was implying that consumer goods are made to be disposable. They are produced cheaply, so it is more convenient to dispose of them rather then fix them.

I guess it depends on how one looks at the situation, or the situation one is in. On one hand that cheap washing opens the washing machine market to people who previously couldn't afford a washing machine, and on the other hand, it's a cheap washing machine that gets replaced when it breaks and the buyer still comes out ahead.

To that argument I say, just buy more expensive stuff. You'll be more inclined to fix it rather then throw it out. There are premium brands out there, they're just not sold at Wal-Mart.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I don't follow
by DrillSgt on Thu 30th Aug 2007 21:52 UTC in reply to "I don't follow"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"Moreover, competition is exactly why DRM will fail in the end. What properly informed fellow will buy encumbered/copy-protected technologies when given a [u]choice[/u]?"

That will be the people that like to purchase CD's/DVD's from the music/video store and listen/watch them. DRM itself is strictly driven by the music/movie industries. This only questions whether it will fail or not, as people will continue to buy the media which uses DRM, so will require a way to use the media.

Reply Score: 2

You missed it
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:29 UTC
sbergman27
Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

Car manufacturers compete for better price points and deals. The cost of electronics is generally driven down.

However price != TCO.
The constant battle for lower prices has pushed quality and reliability to absolute lows.

"""

To put a car analogy so close to a "lowered quality" argument tells me you didn't live through the late 70's and early 80's in the U.S. U.S. car manufacturers, without real competition from the rest of the world, were producing complete junk at low prices. New competition from the Japanese introduced Americans to higher quality automobiles, at higher prices, and we loved them. The US manufacturers were forced to increase both the *quality* and *price* of their products, while improving the quality/price ratio, in order to keep their customers.

It was pretty much a textbook case of competition working exactly as it should.

Edited 2007-08-30 13:31

Reply Score: 8

RE: You missed it
by anomie on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:31 UTC in reply to "You missed it"
anomie Member since:
2007-02-26

Beat ya by a fraction of a second. Ha! ;)

But. Exactly. The argument starts out with a mistaken analogy that invalidates the argument...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: You missed it
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE: You missed it"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

Beat ya by a fraction of a second. Ha! ;)

"""

How do you know you beat me and that it was not just an artifact of the process scheduler implementation?

Oh, if *only* we had listened to Con, *I* might have beaten *you*! ;-)

Edited 2007-08-30 13:55

Reply Score: 2

RE: You missed it
by jack_perry on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:19 UTC in reply to "You missed it"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

New competition from the Japanese introduced Americans to higher quality automobiles, at higher prices, and we loved them.


Hmm, I was a child then, and as I recall my parents bought the Japanese cars not because they were more expensive, but because they were less expensive and more reliable than both American and European cars. My parents moved from a "new" Chevy which was sold with a wheel that was falling apart (and which was taken in twice for service, who found nothing wrong until my father finally looked at the wheel and saw that a brake pin was falling out) to an Audi Fox whose engine wouldn't run reliably at all (my father's description: "the only thing classy about that car was the price"), to a Plymouth Arrow which was just a rebadged Mitsubishi model. We kept the Arrow for more than ten years, and experienced only occasional, minor problems.

The American car companies have long been hung up on the notion that a car is an expression of a person's style. They were so enthralled by this idea during the 60s and 70s that they did only the minimal amount of engineering necessary to make it run until the warranty expired. The dealer sold first-time buyers a relatively cheap piece of junk called a Chevy or a Ford, and when they came back with more disposable income tried to sell them up to a higher class car ("the car you deserve!"), until they ended up with a Lincoln or an Oldsmobile. Those were junk, too, but marketing imbued them with a classy feel, and the higher price earned a higher profit margin.

This is more or less what the American companies still try to do, but Japanese competition spanked them so badly during the 80s that they started engineering again...until they discovered SUVs, and then they went through one of those "bigger is better" phases that finally gave us the Hummer.

This is all off the top of my head, and is probably wrong, but I'm quite sure that the Japanese models were not more expensive than the American ones.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: You missed it
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:42 UTC in reply to "RE: You missed it"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Hmm, I was a child then, and as I recall my parents bought the Japanese cars not because they were more expensive, but because they were less expensive and more reliable than both American and European cars.
"""

Early on that may have been true. Back when "Nissans" were called Datsuns" they may have been less expensive, as well. That changed in the 80's. Quality has its costs. ;-)

The lowered quality of US automobiles existed in the late 60's. But it didn't really get going until the 70's. My 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham has served me quite well over these last 40 years.

Reply Score: 2

Hmm..
by thecwin on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:32 UTC
thecwin
Member since:
2006-01-04

I think this argument is more that unfriendly competition (as tends to happen in capitalism, particularly with tech) is bad, but friendly competition is good. Not that competition is bad.

Reply Score: 2

BluRay, HD-DVD? Who needs 'em?
by bornagainenguin on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:37 UTC
bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07

I'm refusing to "upgrade" to either standard. As are a lot of people I know... heck half the video stores I know aren't even carrying either one, not to mention all the hassle of buying all new kit to ensure you get the high quality signal you're paying for...

DVD is going to stick around for awhile and when it finally dies off I think the successor will be downloadable video that takes over.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 4

evangs
Member since:
2005-07-07

Competition is why in 2007 we have PCs that take longer to start up than 10 years ago. There are endless excuses for why this is; but at the end of the day they're still excuses and not reasons. The reason is that competition has dulled engineering. An Amiga cold-booted in seconds, there was no shutdown - you just switched it off. Don't think that because new computers/OSes do more that that is a reason to take three minutes to shut down. It's an excuse, nothing more.

Kroc, you really really need to work on this point here. Amiga cold booted in seconds. Current PCs cold boot in minutes. How this can be blamed on competition, I do not know.

Reply Score: 3

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

Because, competition increased the complexity of operating systems. *shakes fist at sky*

If we wouldn't have had competition, operating systems would have stayed at 1984 levels for ever, and we would still be using the more reliable sneakernet rather then this new fangled, untrustworthy Ethernet thing-a-ma-bob. ;)

DOS boots really quickly too, but I wouldn't want to use that as my primary OS. The better example would be QNX, I think. I remember it being super streamlined and quick.

Reply Score: 3

Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Windows won the competition, that market stagnated, and now new competition is fighting back.

It's nice that an Amiga booted in seconds, but we're not all using Amiga's now, despite being superior technology. Competition killed the better technologies in the name of the company who could be the most ruthless, not best.

Reply Score: 2

evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

As others have pointed out, this should not be an argument against competition. Instead it is proof that competition is needed. Seeing as Windows won the competition, there was no longer any competition in the market hence it stagnated.

Reply Score: 2

wannabe geek Member since:
2006-09-27

Isn't it ironic that open standards are guilty of Microsoft's success? ;)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PC_compatible

Reply Score: 1

Karitku Member since:
2006-01-12

This is kinda silly because my experience with Amiga is classical example why non-diversity lost. Amiga might been superior in same area of technology, but it was also expensive, had quality issue and suffered bad decision of company. Amiga simply lost because it couldn't meet the demands of people and couldn't lean down the costs. Business wanted something that Amiga couldn't offer, cheap and choices. Nazis had superior tanks against Russians but they still lost because what war needed was cheap and good enough tank. Overall whole article is confusing, you should read history and study financing before you go make this kind silly articles.

Reply Score: 1

helf Member since:
2005-07-06

your post made me crack up. Thanks ;) I needed that.

Reply Score: 2

Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

I was hoping it would give someone a laugh. ;)

Reply Score: 1

DRM and competition?
by Almafeta on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:41 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Competition didn't create DRM. A culture that says "It's too hard for them to catch you, so you'll get away with it" created DRM...

Reply Score: 3

RE: DRM and competition?
by SReilly on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:55 UTC in reply to "DRM and competition?"
SReilly Member since:
2006-12-28

I totally disagree. A culture of 'Milk the public for every penny and tell the artists, off of whom you are already milking the profits of they're produce, a load of bull to get them on your side.'

Basically, a culture of greed and high profit margins kept artificially high by a dieing industry unable to change it's business model for fear of losing all that 'hard earned' cash.

Also, considering the fact that the recording industry, DRMs biggest proponents, is almost completely controlled by only four corporations, I'd say it another case of not enough competition.

As NoFX put, Dinosaurs will die.

Reply Score: 10

RE: DRM and competition?
by butters on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:47 UTC in reply to "DRM and competition?"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

No, a culture that says "I'll help my neighbor if it isn't too inconvenient" created DRM. It goes against human nature to horde something that isn't scarce. Sharing is a survival instinct. When I have food, I'll share it with my neighbor so that he shares his when I'm starving. The big business doesn't want us to help each other. A starving customer will pay any price (on credit, of course).

It's funny you use the word "culture". If the content industry remains on its evolutionary track, soon we won't have any discernable culture left to speak of. We'll just be worker drones that make the minimum payment on our credit cards every month. We'll have all sorts of new and fascinating social disorders. We'll worry about raising our children in a cynical, uncaring world ruled by self-righteous social Darwinists.

It's interesting that American dystopian literature is almost exclusively based around big bad government and its authoritarian social planning. We don't have to worry about that. When social planning comes to America, it will come wrapped in content and carrying ads. It's big bad media and its corporate sponsors that want to control society. Government is just there as a decoy, a dog-and-pony show to distract us from our real problems.

Competition is good. There's nothing like a handful of similarly-sized businesses vigorously competing for our dollars. But underregulated capitalism doesn't result in fair competition. It results in small and new companies having a huge disadvantage in competing with large and established companies. It also results in "competitors" forming industry alliances to fix prices and gain leverage over consumers and governments.

Don't get me wrong, America couldn't have grown to become a superpower without unbridled capitalism. But here we are, with our ridiculous per-capita GDP, and we still have an economic system tuned for explosive growth and consolidation of power. We can't keep it up any longer. We're drowning in debt.

We're not creating wealth anymore. We're just pushing it upward, and it's not trickling back down. The American economy has flatlined, running straight into a wall of finite consumer spending power. If we don't purge the beast in a controlled redistribution program, we're going to erupt, and the pus of a rotting superpower will rain down on the rest of the world.

We're drowning. If big business won't listen and our government is spineless, then we have to save ourselves by saving each other. It's the only way.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: DRM and competition?
by Almafeta on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE: DRM and competition?"
Almafeta Member since:
2007-02-22

A starving customer will pay any price (on credit, of course).

And here is where the key fallacy lies. You will not starve just because the Big Mean Corporation won't let you have the Bon Jovi: Yet More Remixed Oldies album for free. If they were harming you, then you might have a point, but they are not.

People have no right to other people's things. If I walked into your house and helped myself to your money, I would become a criminal; the piracy of music, video, books, and software is no different.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: DRM and competition?
by butters on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: DRM and competition?"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Oh, I completely realize that people will live without Bon Jovi. But they have to have it anyway. That's the problem with our consumer culture. We've been suckered into "needing" things we don't really need. We'd rather be in debt than not have all the shiny stuff we see on TV.

No, I wouldn't want you coming into my house and stealing my money. But someone I knew a bit better asked nicely, I might lend them some money. Digital content is weird because we can make copies at little or no cost. If I could turn my $20 bill into as many $20 bills as I like, then I would certainly lend you money. You can hold me to that, OK?

As I've said many times before, digital media is different than anything we've bought and sold before. How it is monetized will be one of defining issues of our time. The ability to make infinite copies is a unique property. It flies in the face of supply and demand. It's a new kind of entity that's neither a good nor a service.

Comparisons to stealing cars or or even stealing network bandwidth are flawed. These are scarce commodities. Digital media is not. So there is a difference.

Reply Score: 5

RE[4]: DRM and competition?
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 19:33 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: DRM and competition?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
Comparisons to stealing cars or or even stealing network bandwidth are flawed. These are scarce commodities. Digital media is not. So there is a difference.
"""

Agreed. And yet intellectual property is still property, as well it should be (despite Stallman's well meaning hand waving about that term). On the supply side it is, anyway. Someone worked hard, spent sleepless nights, etc., to come up with the idea and develop it into a reality. Or to compose and record it. Whatever.

We have a newish beast here. But we persist in trying to define it as a car, a horse, or as the air we breathe. When it is, in fact, all three, and none of the above.

It looks like one thing to the producer. Another to the distributor. And quite another to the consumer.

It's the sort of thing that the original Twilight Zone could have done some interesting things with, had the writers been shown a glimpse of this future.

Reply Score: 4

RE: DRM and competition?
by ssa2204 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 22:00 UTC in reply to "DRM and competition?"
ssa2204 Member since:
2006-04-22

This is the sanest of any thought I have seen so far. DRM is a reaction, good or bad, to a culture that simply no longer wanted to pay for anything. I really do not see the difference between when a store puts security measures in place to insure you do not walk out without paying for their product and a company that wishes to insure that you pay for their product.

One of the most baseless claims is that the music industry just did not understand technology and the ability to download music. What was at issue was people using P2P networks to download gigabytes of music they did not pay for. There is no argument that the methods they have used have been in poor taste to say the least, but the fact remains nobody is entitled to free music anymore than they are entitled to free movies.

As much as people whine, complain, bitch and moan about DRM, I have yet to hear one single REASONABLE alternative. One argument that could, and is made, is if the industries lowered their prices maybe their would be no need for DRM. Except, that basic economics would tell you that they have no reason to lower prices, the markets have spoken and people ARE willing to pay $20 for a DVD, $2 for a song, etc..

I am sorry but I really just can not get all worked up about this. If your downloaded Transformers or 300 HD DVD will not play at full HD on your Vista PC, well remember the old saying.."You get what you pay for!"

Reply Score: 2

LOL
by diegocg on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:47 UTC
diegocg
Member since:
2005-07-08

You aren't trying to critize capitalism, are you?


Because that's a topic that has been discussed to death many times, and osnews is not the best place to settle it.

Edited 2007-08-30 13:48

Reply Score: 6

RE: LOL
by Michael on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:16 UTC in reply to "LOL"
Michael Member since:
2005-07-01

Exactly. All this demonstrates is that raw capitalism may not always produce the optimal solution, as some idealists believe it does. Therefore we have regulation of the markets, for example, the ISO standards. Economics 101, as I believe they say in America.

Reply Score: 3

RE: LOL
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:09 UTC in reply to "LOL"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Er, no.
Since when was working together a sin? If that's what capitalism dictates, then I suppose I am.

Reply Score: 2

Title...
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:47 UTC
Flatland_Spider
Member since:
2006-09-01

The economic principal underneath all of this is getting misconstrued, actually it's not a principal it's a cycle.

The way it works is that in the beginning there are many disparate standards and products. Eventually one standard comes out dominant due to consumer preference, not due to technical merits most of the time. Once the dominant platform is established everyone starts cloning the most successful product creating a standard.

To poke more holes in the article. GNU/Linux is a great example of competition. Everyone comes up with a distro with different ideas, and different ideas battle it out to see which one is the best solution. Gnome vs KDE. Apt vs RPM vs Source.

To address the DRM issue. DRM was invented and pushed onto consumers by the entertainment industry. There wasn't any input from other parties. There hasn't been competition in the music industry in a long time. There isn't a monopoly, but there are only five corporations that exist in that field. Those five a very tight knit and regularly collude with each other.

The competition with DRM is DRM free media hosted on P2P networks, and to date the entertainment companies have only been able to slow down filesharing not eliminate it. Now they are realizing what consumers want, and there are going to be experiments to see how well consumers like unencumbered media.

Reply Score: 3

effects of competition can be slooow...
by estrabd on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:50 UTC
estrabd
Member since:
2006-01-18

but in general there is always a net positive - even if it is not the result that was originally envisioned. Self organizing systems have a funny way of doing that.

I don't know if the author of this rant is just impatient or a student of Marx, but this is probably the most ridiculous article I have ever read here.

Reply Score: 3

DevL
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Competition by it's definition is to beat the opponent. When the opponent is beaten, there is no need to continue with any of the competitive actions, such as lowering prices or improving technology. Competition ultimately ends with stagnation and vendor lock in. The amount that stagnation and lock-in has set back computing progress cannot begin to be calculated. One clear example is the period 2001-2004 where IE6 held a near 100% monopoly on the browser market. During that period no major revision of IE occurred (other than a popup blocker in SP2), Viruses, spyware and other malware exploded on the web. Even though tabbed browsing had been around for years, Microsoft had no need to add it, there was no competition. Microsoft had no monetary reason to benefit users any more.

We have Firefox and it's grass roots advertising campaign to thank for bringing some small amount of competition back to the web, but the damage has still been done. We're almost five years behind where the web should be, and consumers will continue to be plagued by malware on an unprecedented level."

So...competion is bad because when there is none, nothing happens. Doesn't your own example take a 88mm cannon to your article's forehead?

Reply Score: 2

Pardon...
by kaiwai on Thu 30th Aug 2007 13:58 UTC
kaiwai
Member since:
2005-07-06

I read the article, and in all due respects, you simply don't have a clue.

Lower quality? I certainly don't see that. If there is lower quality its due to idiots purchasing the same junk from the same vendors over and over again. Heck, Gateway and Packard Bell, the two biggest con artists of the IT world - recycling remanufactured parts in new products and are still gettign idiots to purchase their products. Everytime I hear of a customer go "ooh, I bought myself a gateway" I truly want to slap them silly - obviously they've learned *NOTHING*.

Competition is a two way street. If the customer is damn clueless about products then competition plain well doesn't work. If customers act like vulnerable idiots when purchasing computer equipment rather than informed consumers, of course you'll have non-reputable companies staying in business by virtue of simply having a good marketing budget.

Competition in standards, its great - who can implement the standard in the best possible way. The whole thing falls to pieces, however, when you have roaches like fraunhofer who demand royalty payments for mp3 technology that is under an open ISO standard. That is when things fall over.

If patents weren't there, and technologies were freely open to implement and people to compete, there would be a level playing field and everyone would be able to compete. The simple fact is, its patents which hold back competition which could challenge the status quo.

Regarding DRM - the issue is this Almafeta, DRM is used by the established companies to crush competition and new forms of distribution. The very idea that an artist could possibly record their own music, distribute it themselves thus bypassing the establishment, quite frankly, scares the living crap out of them. Gone of the days where they can leech the artist for money.

It would also force artist to actually produce good music; gone of the day where talentless hacks hide behind the scenes and leech off the collective success of the company. They're on there own, they either sink or swim. The internet levels that playing field. I can assure you that if the britney spears of the world had to compete in such an environment, she would be back serving chocolate thick shakes at McDonalds by lunch time.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Pardon...
by google_ninja on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:50 UTC in reply to "Pardon..."
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

I totally agree about the whole lack of a clue part. Competition in a free market is why capitalism works, and the lack of competition, or any other real incentive to create, is why communism fails, and at this point I believe there are more then enough examples from history to prove that to be true.

With DRM though, we really differ. There are two things really, DRM the idea, and current DRM implementations.

<soap box>

There has been this massive dis-information campeign going on for a few years to get the idea that DRM = evil into peoples heads. This is just as wrong as the RIAAs campeign to get Copying = Stealing as the widely accepted truth.

There is nothing wrong with DRM as an idea, in fact it is downright nessicary in a world where people cannot be trusted. Where it gets wrong is when companies start implementing dracionion measures that screw their customers.

What is wrong with asking to input a 15 character key to get the full version of software? I don't think anyone has a problem with it, in fact it is this model that has lead to alot of great software being made, and lowers the barrier of entry for a programmer to make a small business. However, compare that to MS activation. Same idea, different implementation. One is simple, yet nessicary. The other goes beyond all realm of reason.

We'll go on to movies. Sure, there was alot of evility going on with CSS, but in a general way it didn't inconvenience the vast majority of us. AACSS on the other hand, is absolutely insane. For DVDs, buying a 20$ dvd player is all that was required. For HD-DVDs, you need a new tv, new sound system, and new player, and if any of these do not meet the HD specs, then you end up with degraded content.

It is not evil to want to protect something you sell in a form as easy to copy as digital media is. Any time you walk into a store, chances are there are cameras on you. There are metal detectors. Do you care? no. Because this is a reasonable level of protection, and as long as you aren't trying to steal, it in no way inconveniences you. If the store detained everyone for strip searches before leaving the premisis, that would be another story.

At a certain point, they have to accept that there will always be people who will steal, and to try to protect against everything will only end up hurting your paying customers. As consumers, we need to vote with our dollars and show them what we will tolerate, and what we won't. Buying the media, and cracking the protection does absolutely nothing. Boycotting anything that in your eyes goes too far, does.

</soap box>

Reply Score: 2

RE: Pardon...
by porcel on Thu 30th Aug 2007 20:42 UTC in reply to "Pardon..."
porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

I have no problem with your comments on DRM and the way that the patent system is abused, but do you have any sources to prove that Gateway uses or has used remanufactured parts in their products?

That's a very serious claim to be making. I haven't bought a Gateway product in years, but I did buy two P-II 400 Mhz many years ago, one which received a 3ware card recently and two 400GB drives and acts as my home file server and the other which I gave away to my sister who uses it to surf the net. These systems are about nine or ten years old and they still run well.

In fact, the server has been on non-stop for years, which is why I refuse to replace it.

I am not claiming Gateway is a good hardware company.
I certainly haven't bought anything else since I bought these systems, but you make them out to be crooks and a little bit of evidence would make you more credible.

It seems to me that if they were known to be using remanufactured parts, the news would be all over the net.

Edited 2007-08-30 20:45

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Pardon...
by kaiwai on Thu 30th Aug 2007 23:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Pardon..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

It seems to me that if they were known to be using remanufactured parts, the news would be all over the net.


Depends on how old you are - would have been around 10 years ago. Packard Bell being the biggest of the lot. Their poor track record of being able to rebuild their brand in North America, for many people it has been synonymous with a poor quality and dishonesty.

Gateway did started to do the same thing around the time they bought PC Direct in New Zealand (not the be confused with the PC Direct which exists today) and used it to cut costs. I had a mate who worked for the company who saw it first hand, hence his refusal to purchase anything from his employer.

Both focused on cutting costs rather than the product - the net result, you end up with a product line that is profit orientated rather than outcome oriented. When you're in the consumer market that is the greatest cardinal sin. Talk to anyone who is successful and they'll tell you that one should focus on the product and the profits will follow.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Pardon...
by porcel on Fri 31st Aug 2007 12:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Pardon..."
porcel Member since:
2006-01-28

Well, as I said, I bought those Gateway systems over 10 years ago and they were expensive, but very well built. I also remember calling Gateway and getting someone on the phone instantly back in the day.

I then did hear that they went to hell, but for home use I have built my own systems after that original purchase with the exception of a couple of SUN servers I have laying around.

Reply Score: 2

HD-DVD vs Bluray
by WereCatf on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:01 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I know this is off-topic, but I just feel like making one comment: I'm glad I don't have to choose EITHER ^^ I am more than satisfied with DVDs and I don't have any reason whatsoever to start using hd-dvd or bluray ;)

Reply Score: 3

Competition is good?
by -APT- on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:05 UTC
-APT-
Member since:
2007-03-20

It's only good if it's the right kind of competition.

HD-DVD vs Blu-ray is a typical example of the wrong competition, both formats are hurting adoption of the format making people cautious when buying. Now competition between different DVD players is good, it can help lower prices if manufacturer A is cheaper than manufacturer B.

I'm sure everyone realises that broadband is similar. Various people are under the delusion that there is competition between DSL and cable, however the fact is there is no real competition. Now in countries where the network is provided by local government and companies can use the network there is a level of competition.

Competition isn't a magic fix which can save every market, but it can help.

Reply Score: 1

Linux choice?
by gedmurphy on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:11 UTC
gedmurphy
Member since:
2005-12-23

Choice is good when there's one agreed base standard, and a number of compatible approaches. For example, there are many Linux distributions, but they are all Linux, and they can all run the same software. They are 'flavours' of the same thing, that is a good choice. People like different flavours.

This seems to contradict the article itself.

In retrospect, it's the huge choice which is holding Linux back to a certain extent. There isn't an agreed base standard, they're all slightly different.

It's only since the arrival of Ubuntu, where the obvious choice has been targeted down to one (hence the need for choice removed), that linux on the desktop has started to make ground.

Imagine Dell allowing you to 'choose' your own linux distro, that would be rather messy.

Reply Score: 1

Disconnected from reality
by rycamor on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:11 UTC
rycamor
Member since:
2005-07-18

There are too many logical flaws with an argument like this to bother dealing with one-by-one, but let's just take the main idea in abstract: competition (in economic development) is bad.

OK, and what exactly would we replace it with? Every argument I've seen against competition seems to assume quietly that there need be no real discussion as to the alternative. It's taken on faith that "we" (really meaning the government) should somehow make those evil businesspeople stop competing and just play together nicely, as if we're all in kindergarten.

So instead of businesspeople and companies freely choosing what projects they will work on and how they will sell them, we should replace that with some benevolent body of bureaucrats with the limitless perception as to what things should be developed, and how they should be sold? Has this ever worked? I'm willing to bet that with serious examination, it is 100% provable that this approach always leads in the end to lower quality and less prosperity for everyone. Certainly the history of the 20th century bears this out.

Yes, competition breeds bad things as well as good things. People are not perfect, so they will choose to work at odds with their own interests or the interests of others quite often. There is no guarantee against that. But any approach to legislate against this falls into the same problem: how do you know the legislators will make the right choices? Why would we trust them to somehow magically know what is in our best interest? Oh... democracy, you say? Our votes help weed out those who work against our interests? Isn't that competition also? (Not to mention, it is a much more "gameable" sort of competition. The number of politician promises divided by the number of broken politician promises approaches the value of 1.)

"No, no..." you argue. "You're making unfair assumptions". OK, so the only other assumption to make is that this argument is simply a plea to get businesses to *freely* choose less competition. I have no problem with that. In fact, businesses quite often DO choose to cooperate rather than simply compete. That's why we have business associations, and in fact why standards exist at all (No, the concept of standards was not created ex nihilo from the mind of some politician). Game theory itself proves that sometimes cooperation is better than competition for both parties. The real point of all this is not competition, but profit. And profit is good for all concerned. Profit is why we have products to buy, and why we have jobs, rather than pure slavery. If you remove profit, you remove not only the incentive to make improvements in anything, but also the means to do so.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Disconnected from reality
by Almindor on Thu 30th Aug 2007 21:11 UTC in reply to "Disconnected from reality"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

Profit is why we have products to buy, and why we have jobs, rather than pure slavery. If you remove profit, you remove not only the incentive to make improvements in anything, but also the means to do so.

Opensource and free software has proven you wrong in this one. People don't only do stuff to get profit and/or survive. They also do stuff because they enjoy it, because they want praise etc. I can say this because I always enjoy working on my OSS projects more than on the ones I get payment for. You may say that it's because I chose those which I enjoy, and get pay for those which I don't, but it's not true. I enjoyed my last payed project, but since it had a deadline, and I was under stress, I always had that "bad" feeling when I worked on it.

So it's not just profit. For companies, mostly yes, all big ones are pure profit makers with no other concerns. But that's what makes it bad.

When a small company is founded, it's usually with a vision. The founders want to do some quality stuff etc. But later when the company grows, the managers and economic rats pack in and start to control things, then shares go in and the original people lose control. This is the beginning of the end. These new controllers have no reason to produce quality software. They have no vision, no respect for what they do. They want only profit.

You forget that we're talking humans here. As long as the company stays loyal to it's roots it makes good products, not because of greed, but because of self esteem, pride and image.

I've seen too many companies "grow" into profit seeking pieces of crap. Thats the natural cycle of capitalism as it eventually grows into corporatocracy (yes, that's a political system not economical I know, but capitalism as economical system forces corporatocracy no matter what the underlaying political setup may be)

Reply Score: 1

monopoly
by netpython on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:23 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

The article is a bit flawed. There're market players who produce products capable of playing both the mentioned contents. A Blue Ray or HDVD player is expensive because it's relative new technology. The research costs have to be earned back one way or another. Without competition any company would let us pay into oblivion.

DRM does exist despite competition. Solely because not everyone allways follows the appropiate paths. People do steal, crack, and whatever "inapropiate" behaviour. I dare say even if only one company would provide either Blue Ray HDVD or whatever high-def content there would still be DRM.

Reply Score: 2

Competition is good
by g2devi on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:26 UTC
g2devi
Member since:
2005-07-09

Ironically, the arguments presented actually support competition. Let's look at DRM. The only way it works is if the hardware, operating system, and peripherals all all collude to keep anyone out of the DRM club out. DRM is, by nature anti-competitive. Ditto for monopolies and software and business patents and any vendor-lock-in "features". So what is competitive? Anything allows customers to replace one product with a competitor's product with minimal effort. Credible open standards like TCP/IP, LSB, PDF, and the SQL or C++ specifications are also competive since they ensure replace-ability.

Open source, in general, is very competitive because in the worst case you can either write a conversion program based on the original open source code or fork the project internally and develop it yourself. Note, open source is not always competitive. Anyone who's had to convert a typical MySQL database to any other database knows how difficult it is. It's the open source equivalent of Access. It does the job, but only if you agree to the lock-in. SQL-lite and Postgres are more competitive, but even in the MySQL case, you can at least maintain the code yourself if you don't like the maintainer's direction or support company's fee/license.

All these things are good for customers.

About the only thing bad about competition is that competitive groups/companies that make things fundamentally different or non-standard for the sake of being different (i.e. lock-in with zero advantage).

Reply Score: 5

Where to begin?
by babernat on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:27 UTC
babernat
Member since:
2007-02-21

This flies in the face economic reason that has served the world for longer than any of us have been alive. Nash could get away with it, but you my friend are no Nash.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Where to begin?
by netpython on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:41 UTC in reply to "Where to begin?"
netpython Member since:
2005-07-06

Predominant dynamics:P

Reply Score: 3

Why are we discussing this?
by lindkvis on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:43 UTC
lindkvis
Member since:
2006-11-21

The author seems to be reinventing large portions of political and economic theory without actually contributing anything new.

Also just because he addresses this from a 'techie' perspective, does not make this a techie subject. It is straightforward political discussion belonging on a political web forum.

However, if the author brought this article to a proper political forum, he would be laughed at and told to go read some philosophy and political theory as this subject has been discussed a million times before.

As it is now, it is just uninformed drivel. Those that do not understand history is doomed to repeat it.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Why are we discussing this?
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:52 UTC in reply to "Why are we discussing this?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It was a discussion point. I think you're trying way to hard to read something about it. Political? Ha! Whatever, politics I could care less about. Companies screw over consumers because they won't work together - that's it. That's your 'philosophy'.

Those who think everything has meaning, will never find any.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Why are we discussing this?
by lindkvis on Thu 30th Aug 2007 23:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Why are we discussing this?"
lindkvis Member since:
2006-11-21

This just goes to show exactly how uninformed you are. You are even reinventing politics :-) since you don't seem to understand what politics is.

This is so typical from people who claim not to be interested in politics and then suddenly complain about petrol taxes and alcohol regulations.

Your article is almost purely political and competition versus cooperation is something that is essential to discussion about capitalism, cooperatives and marxism.

Reply Score: 2

n1xt3r Member since:
2006-02-05

At least OSNews hasn't been overran with pseudo pundits like some other tech sites I know.

I read OSNews for it's user-contributed insight into the world of operating systems and related technologies. If I wanted to read someone's political opinion on capitalism, I would visit a political web site like the daily-kos. Somehow, this article feels slightly out of place with it's amateur attempt at politics.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Why are we discussing this?
by redtux on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:37 UTC in reply to "Why are we discussing this?"
redtux Member since:
2006-12-04

So techies dont have political views that inform their actions and thoughts?

Anyway IMO what the writer is actually reccomeding is coopetition als FOSS

Also pure competition doesn't exist anywhere (closest being countries where the US insist on rampant pro-corporatism like Chile)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Why are we discussing this?
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:00 UTC in reply to "RE: Why are we discussing this?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Techies have psuedo-politics. That's where we get our 'holy wars' from. But at the end of the day I don't go club Windows users to death because I'm a Mac user, or vice-versa. I don't go on hate rallies in the streets. People need to get a grip of reality and stop trying to associate this article with those kinds of behaviours. There simply is no reality there.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[3]: Why are we discussing this?
by tmack on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Why are we discussing this?"
Quality...
by BlackTiger on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:45 UTC
BlackTiger
Member since:
2005-07-22

Competition drives down quality too. This is worse than DRM and "choice".

People natively hate choice. It's our nature.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Quality...
by google_ninja on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:02 UTC in reply to "Quality..."
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

competition drives quality down to the level that is acceptable by the market. Monopoly drives the quality down as low as it will go.

ie4 - great - competing with netscape
ie5 - good - destroying netscape
ie6 - the worst browser in history, and the longest lasting ie - no real competition
ie7 - great - competing with firefox

Reply Score: 4

comptition isn't good?
by keisangi on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:50 UTC
keisangi
Member since:
2007-08-23

great .. competition isn't good you say?
what do you suggest?
one unique product that everyone should accept and be happy with it?

nice .. one tabacco brand, one unique clothes brand, one unique political side, one unique car brand..etc..
in this case each of thoses company better be very good, cause no other choice ;)

one unique group/band per music style .. nice of course competition is bad, how come noone ever realized this ?
it's brillant.

err maybe not ? ;)

beside drm and co. doesn't exist because because of competition between the diffrent OS and diffrent softwares available. drm exist to try to prevent ppl from sharing "illegaly" software , movies, music and so on.

and i disagree with this view.

btw if you tell someone to NOT do something by force all you get as a result is ppl trying their best to do it.

DON't smoke in the toilet..right everyone does it.
don't do this/ don't do that.. everyone will do it.

ppl are just free and they will protect their right to decide whatever they want to do.

all anti-piracy schemes are bind to fail
cause ppl want to share.

they'd better try to figure what to do with this fact instead off trying to prevent it to happen, cause it will never stop. imho.

Reply Score: 2

RE: comptition isn't good?
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:04 UTC in reply to "comptition isn't good?"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

See the "flavours" illustration in the article.
Having multiple flavours of something is good. People like different flavours. Different clothing, different tobacco, different cars. What is bad, is two of the same flavour competing. They only serve to out-greed each other and in no way benefit the consumer. HD-DVD/BluRay for example.

Reply Score: 2

Mod me down, but...
by JohnOne on Thu 30th Aug 2007 14:51 UTC
JohnOne
Member since:
2006-03-25

... I think this is a stupid almost-marxist argument.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Mod me down, but...
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:01 UTC in reply to "Mod me down, but..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

There isn't any politics involved. Since when did simply working together on technology instead of trying to out ego the other guy become Marxist? People were collaborating a lot during the early days of computing; where'd all that go now?

I think it's stupid to think this article has anything to do with politics.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Mod me down, but...
by google_ninja on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Mod me down, but..."
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

Capitalism is based on the idea that competition in a free market will produce the best results. Marxism is based on the idea that everyone working together for the good of all is the best way to do things.

The early collaberation was in an academic context, and academia functions in a way alot closer to what marx was talking about the way marx was talking about. This works as long as it is a closed system of intellectuals funded by the larger capitalist system. It doesnt work as a general way of doing business, as can be seen many times in history.

Reply Score: 6

RE[3]: Mod me down, but...
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Mod me down, but..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

I don't care a jot about literary terms for these things, they only serve to set up A vs. B scenarios. This is reality, and consumers are being screwed over by companies more and more. If I lend my neighbour a cup of sugar, that makes me a full card carrying Marxist, because I'm helping others out?

It seems to me that in this thread, the hardline is that "Society dictates that I must screw over every other guy in the world to be the best, and that's 'good' for everybody". I'm not talking about governments and stuff - I'm just talking about nerds doing the best for technology.

I suppose my na´vetÚ shows, some people seem to launch into an attack whenever they smell the whiff of this so-called "marxism".

I think I'm going to go take a break by punching everybody I meet in the street ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Mod me down, but...
by Soulbender on Fri 31st Aug 2007 06:52 UTC in reply to "Mod me down, but..."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"I think this is a stupid almost-marxist argument."

Don't drag Marx into the mess that is this article. Marx was never against competition.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Mod me down, but...
by JohnOne on Fri 31st Aug 2007 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Mod me down, but..."
JohnOne Member since:
2006-03-25

Marx was never against competition.


Yeah, it's true.
Infact, in italian philosofic ambients we like to distinguish "Marxian" arguments (of Marx himself) and "Marxist" arguments (inspired by Marx's works, but many time really different from the inspiration). The same difference is between "Thomasian" (of Saint Thomas of Aquino) and "Thomist". :-)

Reply Score: 1

more on good and bad competition
by wannabe geek on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:00 UTC
wannabe geek
Member since:
2006-09-27

Good competition:


_Competing services around open standards. Examples: GNU/Linux distributions.

_ Competing open standards.
Example: GNU/Linux vs *BSDs, Gnome vs KDE

Result: more choice, collaboration, mutual inspiration, efforts at interoperability for further collaboration. The long-term viability of a choice is not in the hands of a few individuals. Good technologies don't disappear due to odd effects of the market. If a choice turns out to be wrong and the technology is dropped, there's usually an easy way to migrate one's data to the new standard, since there are no legal barriers, good documentation and the will to facilitate it.

Bad competition:
_ Competing closed standards. Examples: proprietary OS's, HD-DVD vs BluRay, VHS vs Betamax.

Result: vendor lock-in. Uncertain viability of one's choices. The success of a standard is more tied to business strategies than to its quality. Legal and technical barriers to migration.

Reply Score: 2

blue-ray vs HD is the opposite of competiton
by AhmadH on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:07 UTC
AhmadH
Member since:
2005-10-20

Quite the contrary, fighting over formats and standards like blue-ray vs HD DVD stifles competition on the more practical merits of the products. If anything, I would say that this is anti-competitive and that competition is still always good.

Reply Score: 2

Mis identified the market
by bnolsen on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:09 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

The guy entirely mis identifies the market.

This isn't a big black hole where only Blu-ray and HD-DVD exist.

There's a perfectly viable competitor out there: DVD. And with players under $40 it's spanking both of these two.

Additionally a serious question needs to be asked. Do people watch movies exclusively because they are in Hi-Def or do they actually want to watch a good movie? Does paying over $200 for a brand new player and $5 to $10 more for a movie make the movie any better?

I really seriously believe the media companies were looking for some way to try to boost profits and came up with yet another optical format.

At this point my prediction is that HD-DVD and Blu-ray will be pretty much dead in the water until a tri format player (blu-ray/HD-DVD/DVD) is released price competitive with current DVD player prices. I just don't see any of the media houses making killer profits on the new hi-def foramts that they'd hoped for.

One of the biggest things social darwinism (marxism) brought in the last century were these countries collectively exterminating ~100million or so of their own populations.

Edited 2007-08-30 15:10 UTC

Reply Score: 2

What a crock!
by moronikos on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:15 UTC
moronikos
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think the author is a shill for the communist party. Does anybody seriously think that the competition between Intel and AMD has not been good for consumers?

There really aren't any facts or figures from any studies in his opinion piece. Are we supposed to take it on faith that reliability has gone down?

I can't believe this made it as an article for OSNews.com.

Reply Score: 2

RE: What a crock!
by Kroc on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:19 UTC in reply to "What a crock!"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

"Does anybody seriously think that the competition between Intel and AMD has not been good for consumers?"

The European Union thinks so. *cough*

Reply Score: 1

RE: What a crock!
by alexandru_lz on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:28 UTC in reply to "What a crock!"
alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

I think the author is a shill for the communist party. Does anybody seriously think that the competition between Intel and AMD has not been good for consumers?

I do. The competition between Intel and AMD is one of the things that has kept the x86 architecture around several years past the point when it should have been dumped. Tight competition also means fewer risks that a competitor wants to take.

There are many facets in competition. I'm not claiming all of them are good, but surely this article is examining them all.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: What a crock!
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:50 UTC in reply to "RE: What a crock!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
I do. The competition between Intel and AMD is one of the things that has kept the x86 architecture around several years past the point when it should have been dumped.
"""

You are perfectly free to buy an Itanium, a Sparc, or a PPC. Anyone is.

Intel tried to push Itanium. The industry, and the public chose X86_64.

X86_64 solves the two biggest problems with x86_32 very cleanly. It removes the addressing constraints. And it eliminates the register-constrained nature that has been the bane of x86 for decades.

There are babies. And there is bath water. And it is best not to confuse the two, since people tend to have rather strong feelings as to their relative values.

Opinions differ, of course. I'd take the bath water any day. ;-)

Edited 2007-08-30 15:51

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: What a crock!
by evangs on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What a crock!"
evangs Member since:
2005-07-07

Whatever for? Geeks don't bathe.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: What a crock!
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: What a crock!"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

Whatever for? Geeks don't bathe.

"""

I'd use it in my nifty-difty water-cooled, overclocked, quad core system, of course! The baby would only clog the pipes. ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: What a crock!
by alexandru_lz on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: What a crock!"
alexandru_lz Member since:
2007-02-11

You are perfectly free to buy an Itanium, a Sparc, or a PPC. Anyone is.

Intel tried to push Itanium. The industry, and the public chose X86_64.


I agree, and what I meant was not necessarily that we should have all moved to SPARC. The competition itself also had the advantage of making both Intel and AMD push the x86 with some good innovations.

However, in those moments when I daydream, I keep thinking what computers would have been like if desktops hadn't been hindered by the slow progress of x86 in the late 90s.

Many thanks for your reply. I should have pointed out those things from the very beginning before criticizing the article's author for not telling the whole story about competition.

Reply Score: 1

RE: What a crock!
by redtux on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:42 UTC in reply to "What a crock!"
redtux Member since:
2006-12-04

american by any choice?

Reply Score: 1

Competition IS Bad
by yachp on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:32 UTC
yachp
Member since:
2007-08-30

Like everything in life competition has its good and bad points. The problem is that in our society we treat competition as if it is the holy grail. As if it is the goal in and of itself.

Everything in society is done by competition. We compete in school. We compete in the workforce. We compete against each other. In my opinion one of the reasons why this world is so screwed is that it is based on competition instead of something more appropriate like cooperation.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't have competition. Just that it shouldn't be the focus of everything. Society would be much better off if as a basic tenet we focused on cooperation instead of competition.

Reply Score: 2

LOL
by cjcox on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:47 UTC
cjcox
Member since:
2006-12-21

Text is mostly trash. However, the reason for DRM, sadly, is for the reason that those that 0wn us say... it's because people violate the law daily. Can we all agree to stop copying music and movies illegally? I know that won't stop DRM, but it might just keep it from digging even further into my personal freedoms. My own rough surveys show that 75% of Junior High and Senior High students download music/movies or rip music/movies to media players. Out of which >90% give copies away or receive copies of music/movies without purchasing them. Most learned to do this from friends OR from their parents. And almost none of them feel that they have violated the law in any way.

Reply Score: 3

RE: LOL
by leavengood on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:21 UTC in reply to "LOL"
leavengood Member since:
2006-12-13

"Out of which >90% give copies away or receive copies of music/movies without purchasing them. Most learned to do this from friends OR from their parents. And almost none of them feel that they have violated the law in any way."

If most people break a law without remorse or consequences, maybe the law should be changed, not the people.

Reply Score: 2

RE: LOL
by edwdig on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:30 UTC in reply to "LOL"
edwdig Member since:
2005-08-22

My own rough surveys show that 75% of Junior High and Senior High students download music/movies

Yes, that's a problem.

or rip music/movies to media players.

But that's perfectly fine. Remember, the iPod existed before the iTunes Music Store.

Out of which >90% give copies away or receive copies of music/movies without purchasing them. Most learned to do this from friends OR from their parents. And almost none of them feel that they have violated the law in any way.

That's wrong, but not really unexpected. People would lend each other CDs all the time when I was in high school. But if you're using mp3 files instead of carrying CDs, what do you expect to happen?

Reply Score: 1

consumerism
by operato on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:56 UTC
operato
Member since:
2006-12-05

uhhh... your grief is not with competition. it's with consumerism.

Edited 2007-08-30 16:01

Reply Score: 2

Artificial Barriers
by angryrobot on Thu 30th Aug 2007 15:59 UTC
angryrobot
Member since:
2006-04-26

Seems like you are more against artificial barriers to competition than competition itself. That's what DRM and proprietary formats are.

That's why people want open standards, so that the positive competition you are in favor of can occur.

Reply Score: 3

computer start times
by yoshi on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:21 UTC
yoshi
Member since:
2007-08-30

Competition is why in 2007 we have PCs that take longer to start up than 10 years ago. There are endless excuses for why this is; but at the end of the day they're still excuses and not reasons. The reason is that competition has dulled engineering. An Amiga cold-booted in seconds, there was no shutdown - you just switched it off.


Others have already commented on the cluelessness of the article but I would like to address this one point. Computer start times are longer but its also not relevant anymore. No one turns off their laptop or their desktop anymore. Competition and engineering advances have allowed us to keep these things running all the time. Taking your laptop with you? Put in in sleep mode - near instant response when you lift the cover. And thanks to competition and engineering I can do 10 times more with my PC or Mac than I could ever do with my old Amiga.

Reply Score: 2

RE: computer start times
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 16:39 UTC in reply to "computer start times"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

Others have already commented on the cluelessness of the article but I would like to address this one point. Computer start times are longer but its also not relevant anymore. No one turns off their laptop or their desktop anymore.

"""

Oh, the irony! ;-)

Reply Score: 2

bad analogy
by Hae-Yu on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:20 UTC
Hae-Yu
Member since:
2006-01-12

There are many cases where this is evidently true. Car manufacturers compete for better price points and deals...

However price != TCO.
The constant battle for lower prices has pushed quality and reliability to absolute lows.


You're obviously not a car person.

Car quality is at the highest it's ever been. The number of major defects/ 1000 vehicles is far lower overall decade over decade despite the complexity of the vehicles. There's no way you can cite a statistic to back your statement. Individual models vary year over year, but the average car today is far safer, more reliable and performs better than what was on the road 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 50 years ago.

Whether we like the styles or prefer heavy steel to plastic and fiberglass is another conversation.

Every single component has grown in reliability and performance. Cars are far safer than they ever were and fatalities are far lower despite more being on the roads. All of that is due to competition. Regulations merely condify industry practices & innovations after they've been proven.

Reply Score: 2

Not a good one
by andyleung on Thu 30th Aug 2007 17:56 UTC
andyleung
Member since:
2006-03-24

I cannot stand this:

An Amiga cold-booted in seconds, there was no shutdown - you just switched it off. Don't think that because new computers/OSes do more that that is a reason to take three minutes to shut down. It's an excuse, nothing more.

C'mon!!! Everybody knows that a 5000cc engine doesn't mean to run faster than a 2000cc engine!!! It's all about efficiency than horsepower only. If you know software development and objects management, you should know that it's scalability takes a computer to boot in minutes instead of seconds. Imagine how many abstract layers there to simply make the system as scale as possible? Besides, complicated hardware from different vendors in one box, it's not hard to imagine the quality of their drivers. I don't like MS but sometimes you can't just blame them...ONLY.

A note to the one who talked about Car analogy, my goodness, I haven't never seen any North America made cars going anywhere better than before (sorry for my English), they are still piece of craps when I drive them. No offense but they think they are better doesn't mean they really are.

Back to topic, in my opinion, competition is definitely good; it's only bad to consumers when companies take the advantage from consumers to lead the way in their competitions. Taking advantage from consumers means to break their general business objective: "To serve better products and services to consumers". If the business objective is: "To be #1 in competition in all industries regardless of products and services quality", then competition is good for companies but not consumers.

Reply Score: 1

It's in the implementation stupid!
by TemporalBeing on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:08 UTC
TemporalBeing
Member since:
2007-08-22

The article has a number of good points; however, competition is still good, but it has to do with how we implement competition that is not.

For example, competition between two technologies is not necessarily good - the better technology may not win out. Collaborative development - sharing of information, etc. - can be utilized to develop higher technology that can then be competed on the business level.

How is that? Don't compete on the technical; compete on what is provided. Don't compete between two standards, but work together to create a single standard that can be utilized to form competing products. Example: Panasonic DVD Player vs. Toshiba DVD Player vs. brand-X DVD Player.

In other words, for technology to compete both have to first play on a level playing field (ex: implement the SQL language standard for a database) and then compete the value add of the product (ex: reliability and scalability of the database implementation).

It should not be about locking away information from people (e.g. DRM), but about who has the better material (e.g. Beethoven vs. Metallica vs. Aaron Copeland vs. Kenny Rogers). Relying on repeat buying of the same material by the same people is not a stable business - those people are going to die eventually.

Reply Score: 1

superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

Yet a few basic economy classes wouldn't have hurt for this boy....

Reply Score: 3

sigh...
by jadeshade on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:13 UTC
jadeshade
Member since:
2007-07-10

A very well-written, and I'm sure well-intentioned piece, but I'm afraid Kroc (nice job on the contribution, by the way) has really misdirected his rant. Economists can pretty much spend their entire lives explaining why competition is good, and is necessary. In tech this is still the case, but if you're looking at blu-ray vs. hd-dvd, then you're missing in. Competition works because it favors what the consumer favors - high definition dvds vs. the pirated x264 videos should be the real comparison, not relegated to a snide comment. Considering this, most of the piece falls into the category of just another (not entirely unjustified, mind you) rant about Microsoft and Big Content. One bit that particularly annoys me:

What's more, without competition favouring half-baked standards and short-sighted designs, the difference industry-wide would be astronomical.


Competition favors what the consumer favors. Always. If what the consumer favors is changed by manipulative business practices, then so be it, but (barring BS patent lawsuits/threats) there is nothing that microsoft can do to stop you from going to an alternative platform, if you so choose. For the rest of the piece, we are just given a whirlwind tour of what happened when the consumer's desire for a quick and dirty operating system (literally QDOS, which gates acquired, turned into ms-dos, and revolutionized personal computing with) retarded technical development for years because it did what they needed (gasp) for a price they could afford (double-gasp).

Look. I understand you're spiteful. I use linux myself, everyday (have it installed on a desktop, a laptop, and have a FreeNAS box (bsd-based) in the corner of the room). But please (as this is a recurring theme in internet musings) do not demonize the workings of a market economy because of the actions of a few companies who you disagree with. They may have gotten to the top through backhanded tricks, but the reality is that many can't (can not) imagine using anything else, and this is why they can pull off some of the stuff you're complaining about. I believe, from my earlier statements, you can tell what I think about the last two headings, but really, just sub in 'Microsoft' for 'Competition' and you're really good to go.

Reply Score: 2

Forcing?
by w-ber on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:14 UTC
w-ber
Member since:
2005-08-21

The industry is forcing customers to buy? Excuse me? Is someone pointing a gun at you and telling you to go to an electronics store to buy this and that?

No-one's forcing you to buy that latest gadget. Leave it to the store if you don't like it, and no-one will still be able to sue you.

Reply Score: 2

binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

Choice is good when there's one agreed base standard, and a number of compatible approaches. For example, there are many Linux distributions, but they are all Linux, and they can all run the same software. They are 'flavours' of the same thing, that is a good choice. People like different flavours.


This is wrong actually. You can easily compile applications that will work on one Linux distribution, but not another (if you just move the binaries over).

This could be due to options used to compile a library, etc.

If you are strictly speaking about the executable binary format, then yes.

However, without a great deal of effort on the part of a developer, it is not uncommon for a binary to work on one Linux distribution and not another, especially if it's C++.

Reply Score: 2

The flaw is in the subject
by tamlin on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:33 UTC
tamlin
Member since:
2006-06-18

The flaw is that competition for a position when there is a known target (standard) is good for us. That's what makes the best memory manager "win" in Linux, or what makes OpenBSD such an outstanding OS for security.

But when fighting over what's to become standard, some parties, even companies, can resort to really, really dirty tactics (read about Microsoft and OO XML in Sweden an Norway just the last days) and to hell with user benefit.

Competition is good, at the right level! Fighting over standards leaves everyone hurt - users, as well as the parties fighting. Competing with implementation on an established standard (hell, just think SQL92) is good. If competition at this level didn't exist, MySQL would never had been in business (as their SQL92 comliance has historically been worse than abysmal).

Reply Score: 1

abraxas
Member since:
2005-07-07

Competition also prevents interoperability. This alone adds massively to the overall lag of the industry. Here's a 'what if' to demonstrate:

Competition by itself does not prevent interoperobility. Open formats allow for perfect interoperobility. The problem is DRM and closed formats not competition.

Choosing between HD-DVD and BluRay is not a matter of taste. They both do the same thing, they provide you with a choice you don't need to make. You wish to watch a movie, since both provide the same thing with no variance in features (the movie content is the same on both), the consumer is therefore having to choose between two of the same flavours, except these are expensive flavours, and one might not be around as long as the other, and it'll cost you more money to switch sides in the future.

Yes this kind of sucks for consumers but only for early adopters which is a tiny percentage of consumers. The rest of us will wait until one format wins over the other. The advantage to this kind of competition though is that we can choose the better format if we are an early adopter and steer the market towards the better solution. That is what competition is all about.

Technology would still move forward even without competition. People like Sir Tim Berners-Lee would still push forward software & technology. Linux would still exist exactly as it is now. What's more, without competition favouring half-baked standards and short-sighted designs, the difference industry-wide would be astronomical.

How you figure? Do you remember IE6? It wasn't that long ago. It had basically no competition for years and didn't improve one bit because of that. Firefox and others forced MS to make IE7 more standards compliant and to add features that were missing. There is no doubt in my mind that there would still be some people improving existing solutions without competition but competition is what drives the incredible pace that we see with hardware and software today.

Imagine an Amiga after 25 years of constant leading progress- a multimedia system right down to the hardware level. The IBM design we know now as standard (BIOS/BUS-IRQ) was a very poor decision for multimedia work. If it were Amiga instead of Microsoft, we could have been looking at computing hardware with 100x the graphical capability of existing technology. But that's just hypothetical really. The point is that competition has not picked the best of each generation, it's not picked the best interoperability nor given new competition equal footing when it's turned up.

That's easy to say now but without competition Amiga, or any other company for that matter, wouldn't be spending tons of money on R&D if they didn't have to to remain the leader in the market. In fact publicly owned companies could possibley get in trouble for wasting money unecessarily if they just threw huge sums of money at improving a product that didn't need improving to retain its marketshare.

Competition ultimately ends with stagnation and vendor lock in. The amount that stagnation and lock-in has set back computing progress cannot begin to be calculated. One clear example is the period 2001-2004 where IE6 held a near 100% monopoly on the browser market. During that period no major revision of IE occurred (other than a popup blocker in SP2), Viruses, spyware and other malware exploded on the web. Even though tabbed browsing had been around for years, Microsoft had no need to add it, there was no competition. Microsoft had no monetary reason to benefit users any more.

You just invalidated your own point. You're right that Microsoft didn't improve IE6 as I also said earlier. The reason it was improved was because of competition.

In order to beat someone, sometimes you have to cheat and sometimes you have to prevent the consumer from using any of the competitors

I think you have been using Microsoft products for too long. You don't have to cheat if you make a good product. Linux has been proving this all for a while now. Linux has gained tremendously in the server market since its inception and now is starting to slowly take over desktops around the world. If there was no competition we would still be using a crappy windowing system on top of DOS.

Reply Score: 2

CO-OPETITION vs competition
by pg--az on Thu 30th Aug 2007 19:04 UTC
pg--az
Member since:
2006-03-15

Just typing the hyphenated word
CO-OPETITION
into the Amazon search box gets you to Brandenburger and Nalebuff's book by that name. It has been years since I read this, the latest Amazon review confirms that although there may be academically-better-books now like the recommended "Porter", CO-OPETITION wins because of the case-histories, I LOVE case-histories.
The diagram of the "value net" is particularly concise.
While it's true that there's nothing subtle about simple Monopoly, the world is not quite that far gone just yet, these principles can be of some help. Anyway the title immediately came to mind, just from the play on the word "competition", still seems clever !

Reply Score: 1

Horrible editorial
by averycfay on Thu 30th Aug 2007 19:46 UTC
averycfay
Member since:
2005-08-29

I'm sorry to be so blunt, but this is the dumbest editorial I've ever seen on osnews and I've been reading this site for years. I don't really feel the need to go through every point, but I don't think you really have to look past cars to understand how competition is good.

In the '70s and '80s American cars were horrible. Enter Japanese companies and currently cars are safer and more reliable (not to mention roughly the same cost after adjusting for inflation) than they've ever been.

Simply put, this article is ridiculously stupid. The author might want to take a few basic economics courses before spouting off on something that he clearly has no clue about.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Horrible editorial
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 20:43 UTC in reply to "Horrible editorial"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Cars.

What is it about cars?

Is there something special about... cars... that makes us want to use them as analogies?

Are they particularly appropriate as analogies?

Or are they the exceptions, making them attractive because, as exceptions, they help us "prove" our points?

Or do our cars define us to such an extent that we just can't think about anything else?

Cars, cars, cars.

I have to wonder.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Horrible editorial
by diskinetic on Fri 31st Aug 2007 17:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Horrible editorial"
diskinetic Member since:
2005-12-09

Cars have similar ubiquity and variety, and they are also full of the same vague emotional qualities that often dictate OS purchases/usages.

That's why.

edit -- sticky keys or fat fingers (darn cats and cola!)

Edited 2007-08-31 17:58

Reply Score: 1

Real, Fair Competition...
by tyrione on Thu 30th Aug 2007 20:53 UTC
tyrione
Member since:
2005-11-21

If it has ever existed works best when the standards of competition are high.

If the standard for DVD is set to a high mark and competition is let loose to reach that mark both the producer and consumer wins.

Take the US Auto Industry and Engine Efficiency [a sore subject being an M.E. in one field] where the standard is low.

When you are required to meet the minimum competition will only target the minimum.

We have had engine designs for decades [Department of Energy commissioned more than one project of Turbine Engine Design contests] that meet a minimum of 80 MPG.

Today's requirement is in the low 20s for MPG to sell on the US Market.

Raise the standard and let competition lose.

The one who develops the best fleet meeting this raised requirement first will have a distinct advantage of raking in the consumer dollars.

When Government makes the bar so damn low and then puts on a public show of how disgusted they are at their companies for only meeting the minimum I have to ask these leaders if they live in a fairy tale.

If you only need to get a D average to enter Harvard would you fight to achieve an A average?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Real, Fair Competition...
by sbergman27 on Thu 30th Aug 2007 21:17 UTC in reply to "Real, Fair Competition..."
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""
We have had engine designs for decades [Department of Energy commissioned more than one project of Turbine Engine Design contests] that meet a minimum of 80 MPG.
"""

What's the overall efficiency of the average automotive engine these days? When I was in school, 30 years ago, about 50% of energy from combustion went out the exhaust pipe. 20% was radiated by the cooling system. 5% went to mechanical friction. Leaving only 25% of the energy of combustion to actually deal with the mechanical friction of the car itself, and the wind resistance that so dominates once you get above about 50 mph or so.

Edited 2007-08-30 21:17

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Real, Fair Competition...
by tyrione on Fri 31st Aug 2007 02:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Real, Fair Competition..."
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

20 - 25% efficiency is still the same for Combustion today.

How come? The engine Otto Cycle is still the thermalsystem used today.

Reply Score: 2

Competition is Good
by Don T. Bothers on Thu 30th Aug 2007 21:23 UTC
Don T. Bothers
Member since:
2006-03-15

The problem with BluRay versus HD-DVD is not one of competition, it is one of illegal monopolistic practices. If BluRay and HD-DVD were really competing, they would both be open standards that companies can easily use. And what you would see in the marketplace would be a whole bunch of dual players and people really only caring about the content of the medium not the medium of the content.

Reply Score: 2

This is stupid
by Angel on Thu 30th Aug 2007 21:46 UTC
Angel
Member since:
2005-07-07

DRM does not exist because of competition, it's greed and if anything, competition will get rid of it when/if the market (consumers) opt for COMPETING non-drm providers.

Most retarded article I have read in a while.
Mr. Krock Camen, nothing personal but this article is a Krock of shite. OSNews should do a bit of QA on articles before they are posted.

Reply Score: 2

uh huh.
by helf on Thu 30th Aug 2007 23:02 UTC
helf
Member since:
2005-07-06

And without competition markets stagnate. Look at MS and Windows. It stagnated for a LOOONG time.

Everything has its upsides and downsides. Deal with it.

Reply Score: 2

Not again.....
by snowflake on Fri 31st Aug 2007 00:01 UTC
snowflake
Member since:
2005-07-20

The author of this article can always move to the utopian systems they have in Cuba or N Korea where competition is outlawed.

Why don't people read history books for a while, then they might figure out why we have competition.

And to the person who said:

"Opensource and free software has proven you wrong in this one. People don't only do stuff to get profit and/or survive."

except the major open source suites today are largely paid for by your money greedy capitalistic companies.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Not again.....
by Soulbender on Fri 31st Aug 2007 07:06 UTC in reply to "Not again....."
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"The author of this article can always move to the utopian systems they have in Cuba or N Korea where competition is outlawed."

Why do people keep saying this? There's competition in Cuba, N Korea and pretty much everywhere else where people live. Do people seriously believe that there is only one restaurant, food market or construction company in these countries?
Competition is not an exclusive of capitalism.

Reply Score: 2

wow
by kadams on Fri 31st Aug 2007 01:20 UTC
kadams
Member since:
2007-08-31

I haven't really posted any comments on OSNews in a few years now, but I had to speak up because... well... this article is giving me a headache.

Technology would still move forward even without competition.[...] Linux would still exist exactly as it is now.

That is not true. Industry competition is related to the level of industry innovation. Linux would not have developed as fast as it did with out being pushed by the industry.

Yes, technology would still move forward without competition. However, it would not move forward at the same rate. Competitive (put not perfectly competitive) industries drive innovation. In a purley competitive market there is very little industry driven innovation, as well as very little profit. As the market moves away from pure competition innovation increases and firm profits increase. (which is good for the consumer, as well as the firm) As you move more towards oligopoly then to monoploy, innovation will decline.

If it were Amiga instead of Microsoft, we could have been looking at computing hardware with 100x the graphical capability of existing technology.

No, not really. If Amiga was the monopoly in the market they most likely would have done the same thing Microsoft did. Your example of IE explains how when a corporation becomes a monopoly the rate of innovation decays because they are no longer forced to innovate.

We're almost five years behind where the web should be

HUH? You just complained that about competition pushing "technology forward, quicker" and that it added to TCO, etc. Now you are complaining about the lack of competition in the browser industry, which created product stagnation.

"Competition by it's definition is to beat the opponent."

That is true. I would say that the process of competition in good for the consumer, but the end result (a monopoly) would not be. By most schools of thought, the consumer doesn't really want competition to end.

"When the opponent is beaten, there is no need to continue with any of the competitive actions, such as lowering prices or improving technology. Competition ultimately ends with stagnation and vendor lock in"

So... you just made the same point I did. You just stated that competiton lowers prices and improves technology, and stated that you did not want competition to end because it "ultimately ends with stagnation and vendor lock in".

So if you don't want competition to end, then you must want competition to contiune. But if you wanted competition to continue... then why did you write this article??


Competition exists for one purpose only, to increase the bank balances of share holders. It has nothing to do with consumers.

The consumers are the share holders.

After you read a basic economics book, you might want to read "Competition and Innovation: An Inverted U Relationship"
www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/aghion/papers/comp_and_innov.pdf

Reply Score: 2

Story summary
by Brandybuck on Sat 1st Sep 2007 06:09 UTC
Brandybuck
Member since:
2006-08-27

Here's the story summary for those too lazy to read it: "Competition sucks because it doesn't give me the reality that I demand."

Reply Score: 1