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Is this list informational or idealogical?
I joined this discussion list hoping to hear an informed discussion about issues in the computer industry which affect us as professionals and consumers. My perception when I joined the list was that the discussion would be technically correct, factually correct, and even (perhaps...) devoid of religion and personal vendettas.
I suppose I'm naive for thinking this way. My summary of the messages to this list so far tells me that I was completely wrong in making my initial assumptions. I've seen quite a few "red herrings" and specious oratories bandied about. As an informed person within the computer industry those tactics turn me off.
I'm especially disappointed that a few people presuppose to speak for me and others like me who are technically savvy and really do understand both the issues and the economics.
If the religious fervor of the messages I've seen on this list so far are typical of the views which Mr. Nader proposes to speak on behalf of, then I would say that Mr. Nader does not speak for me personally nor for many thousands of other like me. Indeed such rhetoric may prove to be very counter-productive when dealing with an informed audience.
In my rudimentary understanding of basic economics, I understand that the laws of supply and demand are a very powerful force in the business environment and in the computer industry. Professionals and consumers, like me, vote with our spending dollars. This is my view, no matter if the company we are discussing is Microsoft, or Sun, or General Motors, or any other company in a free trade economy.
Businesses should be free to make decisions about their products and consumers should be free to make decisions about their purchases. In this simple equation the consumer holds the upper, and deciding, hand. Millions of consumers have voted to purchase Microsoft products--almost always when other products (and often dominant and technically superior products) existed on the marketplace.
Microsoft has faced stiff competition in every niche of the computer industry. The list is long -- OS/2 was/is technically superior to Windows/Windows NT, WordPerfect was vastly superior to Word, Lotus 1-2-3 was vastly superior to Excel, dBase was huge before Access was even conceived, and on and on...
In every instance I mentioned above, Microsoft took a huge initial monetary hit as the public voted not to purchase their products. But they persevered and made huge improvements in each of those products. By the third revision or so, the products had become good enough in the consumers minds that they were purchased in mass volume. If taking on formidable competitors and producing products which consumers want to purchase is a monlopy, then I suppose it would be fair to characterize Microsoft as a monoply. If taking on formidable competitors and producing products which consumers want to purchase is a how business in the USA should operate then I find the "monoply" characterization unfair.
Microsoft did NOT invent "hard business." However, I think that even the subscribers of this list would agree that they are a skillful player of the concept. If they made a mistake in applying some facets of that hard business practice then I believe that they will pay whatever penalty is assessed. That is not grounds for me, personally, to raise up in open revolt against them or any other business.
If I don't like what they are doing with their operating system I have complete freedom and opportunity to install OS/2, UNIX. Linux, or several other perfectly usable operating systems. I like having that choice and the freedom to exercise it. I do not like the idea of a government agency forcing me to use what some committee has decided is "best for me."
Given Mr. Nader's past track record which I think most would agree HAS BEEN very effective in speaking on behalf of consumers, I really don't understand this current platform upon which he is perching. He seems to be championing the "We are from the government, and we are here to help you..." position. This, to me , seems diametrically opposite of what I have come to expect from him.
If I have misjudged this stance and indeed Mr. Nader is still championing my right as a consumer to make free choices without government intervention then I could support that. If the stance is to "destroy Microsoft", "destroy IBM", "destroy SUN", or some other such permutation, then I could not, being a firm believer in the consumers right to make choices and determing the fortunes of companies who sell products and services to us, in good conscience support that. I fully support each of those companies (and all the others) to make their own best business decisions and then to let me, as the consumer, freely vote with my spending dollars.
Thanks for listening to my viewpoint. I hope I was able to express it without resorting to the personal and religious fervor that often creeps into (and destroys) such a discussion.
Oh, one more thing. Since these are non-profit organizations (appraising-microsoft.org and essentials.org) is there a public listing of their sources of funding including amounts and donors? I think this would be valuable information to help us consumers make decisions about these organizations.