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Re: interface based monopolies

  Jordan --
      I agree with your comments about not making Gates out to be a
  Hitler, and I think from the other postings I've made to this list, you
  can see that I am in fact trying to take the "high road" in the
  "Appraising of Microsoft", and I have submitted postings which
  discourage making this too much of an issue about Bill Gates the
  person.  We really, really need to focus on MICROSOFT's tactics here,
  not on the character of Bill Gates.  At least that's my strong belief.
  I'm getting nervous at all of the "Bill = Hitler"-type postings that
  have been on this list, because I think they're actually hurting the
  agenda of the conference.  Like I said before (and I know this might
  sound really strange but I believe it to be true), part of the hill that
  those of us who believe Microsoft has engaged in anticompetitive tactics
  are trying to climb is psychological in nature.  It's fighting the
  natural psychological inclination of people who hear complaints against
  Microsoft from saying to themselves, "Boy do these guys envy Bill
  Gates!", or "Boy do these guys have a problem with successful
  companies.". What this conference (and mailing list) is about is
  educating ourselves and the general public about possible unfair and
  anticompetitive practices, nothing more.  Anything more (particularly
  anything more personal about Gates) is likely to have the effect we've
  actually heard off and on right here on this list  --"You guys have a
  problem with successful companies and/or successful people". (Take for
  example, Tibor Machan's earlier comments.)
      If you've read Ralph Nader's letter to Gates inviting him to the
  conference, you see that this is what he himself believed in the
  beginning -- that all the questions surrounding Microsoft were nothing
  more than envy.  Then as he researched things a little further, his
  opinions changed.  This same kind of education needs to be imparted to
  the general public.  The quickest way to have them ignore you is to make
  extremist, militaristic comments and analogies. So this psychological
  battle needs to be fought in some of the people posting to this list, as
  well, IMHO.
      Just to ensure that you all think I'm REALLY strange, I thought a
  helpful analogy might be... a sports-related one.  (Yep, you read
  right.)  How often do you see in a sporting event a team lose because
  they got caught up in their opponent rather than on playing their game?
  And how often do you see this team first get frustrated, then start
  taking personal shots at the opposing players, soon lose all composure,
  and wind up not only losing the game, but losing the respect of the
  viewers and fans as well?  The point I'm trying to make is no one's ever
  quite sure who would have won if one team hadn't lost their heads.  The
  teams sure seemed well-matched on the basis of the objective
      There's a large collection of questionable conduct on the part of
  Microsoft.  It's my belief that the case against them will in fact hold
  up under that -- if that case can be expressed impartially,
  methodically, and civilly.  It's a classic witness credibility thing.
      By the way, I agree with you Jordan that the case against Microsoft
  must be drawn on historic principles, at least to a point -- like others
  have said, I question whether ANY company in history has tried to extend
  their dominance across such a wide spectrum quite like Microsoft has.
  This is another major portion of Ralph Nader's letter to Gates -- how
  real estate, banking, and numerous other sectors are all simply "running
  scared" right now as Microsoft bears down on replacing their core
  business values with online alternatives.  This ability the Internet
  offers to transfer information previously held in trust by various
  professionals (real estate agents, bankers, etc.) is without precedent,
  I believe.
      As far as your comment about sun and netscape -- this is
  oversimplifying what I said a little bit, but again I reiterate that the
  conference is entitled "Appraising Microsoft", and we would do all do
  well to not prejudge Sun and Netscape or predict their actions.
  Alan Glanz
  Jordan Pollack wrote:
  > Alan and Hans replied to my suggestion to nationalize
  > the windows API as (essentially):
  > >"sun and netscape arent problems; lets worry about microsoft first"
  > My point is that a case against Microsoft needs to be drawn in the
  > public interest, on historic principles which would apply to all,
  > rather than as a fight for wealth among charismatic, cherubic, or
  > geeky technology CEOs.
  > I also think that a general piling on to Bill Gates as a paranoid
  > world conquerer, a.k.o napolean or hitler, is the wrong approach. it
  > is
  > also a hard ball to get rolling now that MS advertises in all major
  > media and can stop advertising in those who cover Nader's meeting.
  > (For all we know, IE is the official browser for the democratic and
  > republican parties, except in Utah!:)
  > Finally, if MS perceives that laws are written just to punish it, it
  > could
  > easily buy a Berne Convention signatory island nation, which would
  > welcome infinite returns. And the US immigration department has no way
  > of evaluating source code for value to charge an export tariff.
  > Professor Jordan B. Pollack   DEMO Laboratory, Volen Center for
  > Complex Systems
  > Computer Science Dept, MS018  Phone (617) 736-2713/Lab x3366/Fax x2741
  > Brandeis University           website: http://www.demo.cs.brandeis.edu
  > Waltham, MA 02254             email: pollack@cs.brandeis.edu