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Date:      Wed, 10 Nov 1999 16:24:34 -0800
From:      "David Schwartz" <>
To:        "Brett Glass" <>, <>, <freebsd-chat@FreeBSD.ORG>
Subject:   RE: Judge: "Gates Was Main Culprit"
Message-ID:  <000001bf2bdb$20f36f00$>
In-Reply-To: <>

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> At 02:37 PM 11/10/1999 -0700, Angus Scott-Fleming wrote:
> >I think the whole computer business is in Big Trouble - once the
> >government steps in and starts telling us how to run our businesses,
> >innovation will drop to a crawl as bus.people try to 2nd-guess the govt
> >regulators.
> Nonsense. What the government seeks to rein in is not software design
> but rather anti-competitive business practices.

	The problem is that the majority of these practices were the same types of
practices that every software design company practices every day. And the
motive is always to make one's own product better and to increase its market

	Reading over the findings of fact, you can see immense confusion between
technological leverage and market leverage. Almost every hi-tech company
attempts to leverage its existing technology into new products. The
alternative is reinventing the wheel each time.

	A large number of companies use their existing contact channels (such as
their web page), which gets popularized through one set of products, to
promote whatever new products they may have.

	In reality, all of these things strengthen competition. It was competition
from Microsoft that took Netscape's market share, after all.

> The fact that some of
> the practices were implemented by tweaking the software is only
> incidental to the case, and the government is well aware of this.
> To say that the government should not intervene because Microsoft's
> illegal actions were accomplished (in part) via software design is akin to
> saying  that the government should not punish fraud because it is
> accomplished via speech.

	Actually, that's a point that's relevant for several reasons. A lot of the
evidence in this case consists of memos between Microsoft employees. The
problem is, you can't infer a company's motives by what its employees say to
each other. I assure you, this will have a chilling effect on speech.

	I've been at board meetings for the company I work for where policy
decisions were made. Each person gave some arguments in support of the
policy and the policy was adopted. Each person tends to assume that the
reason the policy decision was made is the reason he or she endorses. (Ask
ten people what the motivation for the change was, and you will get ten very
different answers.)

	Similarly, if I have to communicate the policy decision to those below me,
I'll tend to slant it to get a better reception from those below me. If we
have a specific rivalry with another company, I may well say that this
policy will "get them", but it does not follow that this is the reason for
the policy.

	I think the concept of a large corporation's 'intent' is largely a legal


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