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Re: Your Microsoft Alternative to Antitrust
On Sun, 16 Nov 1997, Ken Hamlett wrote:
> The big difference between them and Microsoft is that they give away a
> product for the benefit of consumers just so that the consumer can have
> a choice. It is unlikely that they have any expectations of becoming a
> monopoly and it is unlikely they will ever do so.
> However they are helping the individual while trying to make
> a profit from the business sector.
I don't the giving away of software is all that altruistic...
Since the duplication of software is virtually costless, especially
if you offer it on the web giving away products suddenly becomes a
ligitemate marketing aproach. One which the hich-tech antitrust laws
*will* have to take into account.
For example, RealNetworks decided to give away their RealAudio
players, and Adobe decided to give away their Acrobat reader. Why? By
making the content viewers universally obtainable, they created a
demand for their content creation/broadcasting software. No one would
buy a program to create Acrobat files if there were nobody out there
who could read them.
IMHO, this is a totally legitemate marketing aproach. The argument
that the practive of selling for $0 is always predatory pricing does
not hold in the digital age.
So what is the difference between that and giving away IE? A tough
question. It boils down to this: Microsoft *already* held a monopoly
on various segments of the market; and within that context seeks to
Netscape gave their browser away free for private use, hoping to make
money from the browsers sold for comercial use and their servers.
They were seeking to fund their give-away marketing from within the
same market. MS is subsidising its giveaways in various markets with
revenue gained in a totally different one, the OS market.
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