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Future markets. Future Monopolies?
FUTURE MONOPOLIES ?
(We trust whatever that Court hears evidence against
Microsoft -- in its current state of monopolization of
desktop personal computing software -- will apply
the law, determined to correct all proven illegality.
The Court will have to have some notion of the future,
but its ruling must be firmly based on facts past and
present. What follows, emphasizes the future -- the
primary concern of this Appraisal.)
No nation should sweat charges against "monopoly"
until the market involved is reasonably defined.
We admit there are obvious separate markets that
(1) CONTENT -- including news and information,
education, entertainment, conversation, and commercial
advertising -- (Disney, Warner, Bloomberg, News Corp.,
MSNBC, ordinary people in conversation, etc.):
Monopoly in this market is hardly a real threat.
(2) DISTRIBUTION -- getting content to subscribers
-- (Ma Bell, Baby Bells, cable owners, satellite systems,
local area microwave systems, actual disk type media,
MS investments in many of these, etc.) : Again, no
monopoly is in view; and none will be possible as global
owners, national and private, take to space with satellites
to defend their cultural existence.
(3) HARDWARE -- to be purchased or leased by
distributors and subscribers -- (IBM, Sun, Motorola,
Intel, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, SE Asia, Europe, China,
Russia, India, etc.): Same story; no monopoly possible.
(All nations may have to protect their production
capability as a matter of national defense.)
(4) SOFTWARE -- on hardware for distribution and
for reception: (MS, Sun, Netscape, IBM, SAP, etc.):
Now we ARE concerned that the larger inter/intra net
market will not fall prey to MS the way the desktop PC
has, the way other markets in the past were monopolized
against what became the law.
There has been much written and spoken about MS
because it may have $10 billion with which to make
predatory investments against the law.
I will be content with curbing their illegal activity. If
this is done, they will invest in all of the above markets
and may become very formidable non-monopolists
in each. I would applaud that.
MS in twenty years, as a giant with a 25% market share
in all the above markets, might be the largest financial
and engineering power on earth -- and I would be happy
if they could earn the right to such success. (I would be
happy for any firm to earn that right -- if they obeyed
the law and offered top products.)
(More than a 25% share in any of the above broad
markets by any single firm is something to be watched
It might very well be that much smaller competitors,
with say a 1% share in only one each of the above
markets, might offer "Cadillac" (old days?) quality
against the largest share provider's plain black
Model "T"' products. That would be fine. In time we
might hope public taste would award highest market
share to the best.
Until that might occur, it is not MS or IBM's size that
would be a concern, but its illegal and unfair tactics in
whatever markets it serves.
John Gelles email address: email@example.com
http://www.myturn.org ; http://www.rain.org/~jjgelles/
URL's above seek enactment of an economic bill of rights.