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Supply and Demand

  Pieter Nagel <pieter.nagel@epiuse.co.za> writes:
  >All this sounds a bit fuzzy. What precisely do I mean by
  >"information"? I think that this relates to issues such as
  >interoperability, openennes, and even consumer choice. It is in this
  Can we also introduce terms like 'meaning' or 'value' of 
  information. Some of us beleive the 'value' of info should
  be set by supply/demand price seeking - altho the 'supply' side
  of the equation is what's tricky to producers of this 
  slippery and easily pirated commodity software, since, as was
  pointed out before, making copies has virtually zero 'cost', and
  thus depends, unlike physical widgets, upon an artificial 
  mechanism or system of laws which limit supply and provide
  an incentive for producers to innovate and compete by allowing
  them to recoup their development costs.
  Probably the most important, and confusing, point is what
  Mr Mueller pointed out, that a company w/ deep pockets like
  MS can, at this point, circumvent any need for generating revenue
  by limiting supply and resort to 'dumping'. Seems to me this dangerous
  trend was started by Netscape. It's actually amazing that an
  'important economic battle' is being waged between two products
  which have no price! (other than 'registering' your existence).
  So what's at stake? Mindshare? Should a dumping strategy work,
  and Netscape isn't able to survive by generating revenue from
  other products, what would be the result? We will still have
  our 'free' Netscape browsers around, just all development on
  it will cease, or will fall to another company much like 
  Caldera harbours DRDOS, etc.  Will MS then be able to recover
  their cost of this battle to death by jacking the price of IE
  up to $80 a copy, or whatever the market will bear in absense
  of a real competitive product?
  This (dumping and free software) seems like such a tricky double-edged
  sword to master: rampant piracy can destroy a company; rampant piracy
  WITH A HOOK can rake 'em in. 
  On the issue of open platforms and interoperability, remember the
  history lesson of Eli Whitney - according to 
  "Whitney's gin brought the South prosperity, but the unwillingness
  of the planters to pay for its use and the ease with which
  the gin could be pirated put Whitney's company out of business
  by 1797. When Congress refused to renew the patent,
  which expired in 1807, Whitney concluded that 'an invention can
  be so valuable as to be worthless to the inventor.'"
  A situation which no intelligent, informed and enlightened person
  today would ever want to find themselves!
  (or is nforce owned by MS?)