Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 14th Oct 2007 15:12 UTC
Legal This week's 'big' news on OSNews was about software patents. You know, those things that say you cannot stack four pixels on top of one another unless you pay money to the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks (or the guy who bought the guy who invented four-pixel-stacks). A company called IP Innovation, LLC, has sued Novell and Red Hat for infringement of the company's IP portfolio. Software patents are of course generally completely ridiculous, so I will not focus on that here. I want to focus on something else.
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RE: Monopolist
by sbergman27 on Mon 15th Oct 2007 04:13 UTC in reply to "Monopolist"
Member since:


MS is a convicted monopolist,


I wish people would stop saying this. It just makes us all look silly. I dislike MS as much as anyone, and more than most. But one is not *convicted* of being a monopoly. One is declared to be a monopoly in an area and then has to be careful not to stray outside the legal bounds that their monopoly status confines them to. With riches come restrictions... with great power comes great responsibility and all that sort of thing.

Once declared a monopoly, a company may be found to have abused that monopoly status. And legal action may be taken. But we are still talking civil law. "Convicted" is just not a word that applies here.

Are they as powerful now as they were when they were declared to be a monopoly all those years ago? Yeah, probably.

The silver lining is that monopolies which are not natural monopolies... a category which fits MS like a glove... have a natural life-cycle. The problem that they have is that they have reached the limits of the revenue they can expect out of their existing customers. And yet they can't really expand their customer base... because they already have everybody. But they need to grow, and so... they have to squeeze their existing customers for more money.

This can work. But it opens up a serious vulnerability for them. Their customers, the ones being squeezed, will be increasingly prepared to jump ship.

Their dilemma doesn't get any less serious with time. It gets worse. As it gets worse, they have to get cleverer and cleverer finding ways to squeeze more without causing a stampede... and one day, they squeeze too hard and the right competitor shows up, and *bam!*, they're IBM! Not a bad place to be. But a far cry from the evil monopoly they once were.

That was the good news. The bad news is that in the absence of government intervention, the monopoly can artificially extend its own life-cycle for a disturbingly long duration. But not forever.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Monopolist
by h3rman on Mon 15th Oct 2007 07:18 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
h3rman Member since:

MS is a convicted monopolist

sbergman27, this merely means that the monopolist Microsoft has been convicted of naughtiness that it could perform by *using* that very monopoly.
It does *not* mean that a judge has said to defendant, 'Thou art a monopolist! Shame be on thee!'
That would be rather silly.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Monopolist
by google_ninja on Mon 15th Oct 2007 14:25 in reply to "RE: Monopolist"
google_ninja Member since:

See, this is why the DoJ should have forced MS to split up into different companies like they were talking about back in the day. Assuming MS was an OS company, then the revenue source would have stopped being enough years ago. But its not its also an office productivity company. And a gaming console company. And an mp3 player company. And a wierd table computer thingie company. The list goes on. If they keep diversifying into every tech market imaginable, even if the market where they have monopoly status is not enough to sustain the behemoth, the others can.

Reply Parent Score: 2