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Date:      Tue, 23 Nov 1999 00:59:10 +0000 (GMT)
From:      Terry Lambert <tlambert@primenet.com>
To:        davids@webmaster.com (David Schwartz)
Cc:        tlambert@primenet.com, freebsd-chat@FreeBSD.ORG
Subject:   Re: Judge: "Gates Was Main Culprit"
Message-ID:  <199911230059.RAA03552@usr02.primenet.com>
In-Reply-To: <000001bf3549$28ca1400$021d85d1@youwant.to> from "David Schwartz" at Nov 22, 99 04:24:52 pm

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> > What I'll say is that cost has no bearing on superiority, or vice
> > versa, unless we are talking about a technologically superior
> > manufacturing process that enables one to drop prices.
> 
> 	This is a truly Alice-in-Wonderland view.


I don't understand why you don't understand the concept of
"independant variables".


> > > If lock in is a problem, then companies should be allowed to
> > > dump to break the lock in. You can't have it both ways.
> >
> > I don't want it both way.  Companies should not be allowed to dump
> > for any reason, including breaking so-called "lock in", and the
> > government should be permitted to kick butt and twist nipples
> > in order to break so-called "lock in".  I see no inconsistancy
> > with prohibiting monopoly tactics from use by all players in any
> > market.
> 
> 	Yes, this is classic. Use the government to create a problem and then
> demand that the government fix it. Wonderful.

Anything that damages the ability of the free market to operate 
as designed in order to give the consumer the most leverage of all
the participants in any transaction should be prohibited.

Government does not create the problem; companies illegally using
anticompetitive practices, and being successful at doing so, due
to their monopolistic power, creates the problem.

What can solve this problem?  Herny Reardon will not solve the
problem for us; he does not see it to be a problem, because he
does not believe that the market exists to server consumers,
but instead exists to serve him.

Can a meaner mob boss come along and knock off the current mob
boss?  Maybe; there's always the possiblity of someone meaner
coming along.  But do we really want the market controlled by
mean mob bosses, instead of the consumer?


> > > > The one with the best technology.
> > >
> > > This is an Alice-in-Wonderland view. Better technology in isolation
> > > doesn't even make a better product.
[ ... ]
> > Let me put it this way: humans effectively give away feces for
> > free; does this make it a better food than wheat, merely because
> > when I divide the cost of an equivalent amount of wheat by the
> > cost of the feces, the price difference overwhelms and feature
> > difference, and thus it's obbious which product is really the
> > superior food?
> 
> So why do people eat wheat instead of feces? I would say it's
> kind of a price/performance thing, though not a purely
> price/performance thing. A straight price/performance division
> tends to give too much weight to price.  I would certainly say
> that cost is a factor. If wheat for free, things that substitute
> for wheat would have a much harder time in the market.

The simple answer is that not all products are equal, even
when people cleam they are equal, and price ratio is not an
issue in the "buy decision".  It doesn't matter what price
ratio you set between wheat and feces, people are going to
buy feces in place of wheat.

The _only_ way to get people to buy feces instead of wheat is
to make wheat unavailable, at the same time making feces
ubiquitous.


> > > 	You have an engineer's view of economics. ;)
> >
> > No, I have a reasonable view of economics, but that is not the
> > question before the board; the question before the board is
> > gauging technical superiority between a set of products, seperate
> > from their ability to compete in the market, and in specific
> > regard to the ability to "lock in" inferior technology through
> > reasons other than free market forces (theorem: free market
> > forces are not operational in the presence of monopolies).
> 
> You have changed the question to one that has no correlation
> whatsoever with reality. Technical superiority has no particular
> market value at all,

You have obviously never been in the market for a replacement
heart valve or a veinous shunt.


> unless it meets some sort of need or drops prices or something.
> What makes a product competitive is not necessarily just technology.

Exactly my point at the start of this discussion, where you
were claiming that Microsofts market share derived from
technical superiority of its products...


> > In other words, good technology is necessary, but not sufficient,
> > for creating a good product.
> 
> 	Absolutely.
> 
> > Turning this around, if you have all of the other factors
> > present, _except_ good technology, then you will have a
> > mediocre product, and it doesn't matter if you win the market
> > or not using illegal tactics, your product is still mediocre
> > (e.g. if it crashes every 46 days because the nanosecond counter
> > overflows, etc., then it's mediocre, and no amount of angels on
> > the heads of no amount of pins will make it any less mediocre).
> 
> The assumption unstated in this is that it's 'bad technology'
> that's responsible for the crashes.


Absolutely.


> When it may really be things like complexity inherent in the
> feature set,

Complexity does not result in fragility, unless it is incompetantly
implemented.


> or immaturity,

An immature technology is, by definition, bad to deploy.


> or any number of other factors.

I'd like to see that laundry list... ;-).


> In any event, this all irrelevant. Nobody particularly cares
> about technology (or should),

Medical technology?  Air traffic control systems?  Baggage
handling systems in the Denver airport?  Control systems on
naval vessels?  ATMs?  Religious broadcasts at 6AM on Sunday?

Where do you draw the line at where people "should" and "should
not" care about the technology on which they depend?


> they should just care about how well the particular product
> meets their present and future needs relative to its cost.

If we were to seperate "cost" and "price", as strict terms,
then what you have people caring about is the underlying
technology...


> > Are you retracting your statement?
> >
> > You stated:
> >
> > 	"When a competitor points out a deficiency in a Microsoft
> > 	 product, Microsoft acts to correct the deficiency."
> >
> > I worked for a competitor of Microsoft both times.
> >
> > I pointed out the deficiency.
> >
> > Microsoft _did not_ act to correct the deficiency.
> >
> > Your statement is therefore false.
> 
> I didn't say, "Any time someone who just happens to be a competitor of
> Microsoft points out what they consider a deficiency in the product,
> Microsoft always acts to change the product to be precisely what the
> competitor wishes it to be."
> 
> You do understand the difference, don't you?

Yes.  Your second definition doesn't let me sell machines with
the OS installed on removable media.


> > > > > Are you saying that Microsoft has no intention of making a
> > > > > profit from IE?
> > > > > If so, what's their goal?
> > > >
> > > > How can they make a profit from something they bundle with the OS?
> > >
> > > Umm, duh, it increases the value of the OS and thus allows them
> > to charge
> > > more for it. Did you fail Economics 101?
> >
> > Wait.  Are they giving IE away for free, or are they bundling it
> > with the OS, thus "locking out" Netscape?
> 
> They are bundling it with Windows. How this locks out Netscape
> remains to be explained.

Microsoft contractually prevented PC vendors from installing
Netscape on PCs they sold, on behalf of consumers.

What is the download time on 20M over a 56k modem?

Answer: over 51 minutes, assuming the modem connects at 53k, the
current FCC limit.

What is an hour of your time worth?  What about the fact that you
are now familiar enough with IE, after using it in order to obtain
Netscape, that you are unlikely to want to switch?


> > Either they are "locking out" Netscape, or they are not adding
> > value by bundling; make up your mind.
> 
> 	Please explain how these are inconsistent.

See above.  If they aren't "locking out" Netscape, you are saying
that IE adds no value, since you want us to treat the machine as
a clean slate, where the cost of obtaining the browser of ones
choice is a zero (or negative) sum proposition.


> > So your tack has changed from:
> >
> > 	"there are no public comparisons contradicting the point"
> >
> > to
> >
> > 	"the public comparisons contradicting the point are
> > 	 irrelevant"
> >
> > Nice to clear that up.
> 
> Umm, what public comparisons contradicting the point are you talking about?
> Show me the browser shootouts that conclude that IE is inferior due to its
> security problems.
> 
> 	CERT advisories do not constitute product comparisons.


I can probably get you a job at Mindcraft, if you like... feel
free to continue to redefine "shootout" until it only encompases
"those surveys which support my point, and which I therefore
consider authoritative".  8-).


> > > > I guess you are implying that you disagree with the findings of
> > > > fact?  You will have a hard time ignoring them; they are almost
> > > > impossible to overturn, unless you can prove that no "reasonable
> > > > person" would have arrived at the same conclusions.  Microsoft
> > > > has had their day in court over the facts, and they have lost.
> > >
> > > Well, given Judge Jackson's previous history in this case, I
> > > wouldn't jump to that conclusion.
> >
> > Feel free to try to overturn it.
> >
> > As good scientists, it is beholden on the rest of us to apply
> > Occam's Razor, and state that, in the absence of contradictory
> > facts, the simplest explanation is the correct one.
> 
> What's your explanation for Judge Jackson issuing an injunction
> against Microsoft, when one wasn't even sought, that was later
> overturned due to the entire rationale behind it being incorrect.

He's human, and the other party should have sought injunctive
relief, since the overturning judge stated that as the reason
for the overturn, not the facts Jackson cited in granting the
injunction?

Or maybe it was the obstructive behaviour of Microsoft, and
the flat-out perjury of Steve Ballmer just really pissed him
off?

Just a guess...


					Terry Lambert
					terry@lambert.org
---
Any opinions in this posting are my own and not those of my present
or previous employers.


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