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Rules of the Game. Results that We Want.

  	The Rule of Law means there are rules. Among
  	these are a prohibition against selling below cost,
  	not in response to distress and a need to liquidate
  	holdings,  but in a deliberate attempt to destroy
  	competition, if engaged in by a firm capable, 
  	thereby, of  becoming a monopoly.  Another rule
  	forbids a seller from imposing conditions on
  	buyers that restrain them buying also from
  	others in due course -- i.e., from intentionally 
  	advancing to monopoly status via restraint 
  	of ordinary trade. 
  	Any firm with a significant share in any market 
  	may not violate these rules.  If MS has broken 
  	these rules, we must insist it be brought into 
  	compliance and that it pay the victims of its rule 
  	breaking moneys to make them whole.
  	The result we want is the absence of monopoly
  	sellers or buyers in any significant information or 
  	communications market.
  	Now there are other results we want that seem
  	to confuse the issue:  We want to see in business
  	enterprise applications that allow all vital tasks
  	that create and require information to be well
  	connected by reliable, efficient, systems. MS
  	is not a big player in these markets yet.
  	We want to see in home applications a market
  	not smaller than our telephone and television 
  	services now comprise.  The market is as yet not 
  	established -- only fragments of it -- and there is
  	not yet a monopoly there.
  	Do these results at the moment allow MS to
  	continue its past breaking of the rules in lesser
  	markets -- especially when the wealth they have
  	accumulated in such markets may be sufficient
  	for them to monopolize both business and home
  	integrated and interactive information based
  	commercial markets in less than twenty years?
  	I say they do not.  It may well be that business
  	and future home applications will not mimic the
  	peculiar path of the desktop personal computer.
  	But the sheer size and wealth of MS put us on
  	notice that it must be forced now to follow
  	the rules.  Only if they do, can we be confident
  	that the industry will not be forced by unfair
  	competitive practice to rely on inferior products.
  	If, under a new fair regime, MS gains market
  	share in markets more significant than our
  	present personal desktops -- in excess of  fifty
  	percent -- anti-trust theory may allow it.  But
  	such a high share is unlikely to be earned without
  	illegal action.  And we must make sure that patent 
  	and copyright law do not invite the equivalent of 
  	unfair competition, as they apparently have in the 
  	lesser market referred to above.
          John Gelles                   email  address: myturn@vcol.net
          http://www.myturn.org   ;    http://www.rain.org/~jjgelles/
          URL's above seek enactment of an economic bill of rights.