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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by jadeshade on Thu 30th Aug 2007 18:13 UTC
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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.

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