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Freedom of choice and path commitment

  charles mueller <cmueller@metrolink.net> writes:
  >garage start-ups that have spawned your industry in the first place.  How to
  >do that?  Break-up Microsoft (via spin-offs) into at least a number of
  >enterprises comparable to the AT&T 'Baby Bells,' e.g., 7 'Baby Softs.'
  >Freed from the grasp of the Octopus, 'information' will rise--and PRICE will
  >fall to the socially-efficient competitive level.  It's a good 'proxy' for
  There is one other little sticky wicket that differentiates the software
  market from, say, cornering the banana market, and that is system
  integration, interoperability between components produced by different
  companies w/ private trade secrets. A solution to that is open
  standards committees, which companies see as a 'brake' on their 
  ability to grow, enhance, develope or extend standards.
  If MS were broken up into an OS company, a Word Processor company,
  a spreadsheet company, they'd certainly be on an equal par with
  Wordperfect, Quattro, etc. What you'd lose is that 'tight' integration
  of components which some of us like (too tight, some would say).
  whether MS takes this too far and 'purposely' alters the OS for the
  express purpose of thwarting a competing app vendor, as opposed to
  innocently extending, developing, enhancing the functionality of
  the os - is yet to be, if it ever can be, determined.
  This little trick of path commitment and the cost of switching to
  another product is what many companies use to 'lock in' customers.
  If I use one brand of gasoline in my car, I can easily switch to 
  another if I freely choose. Switching software vendors has all kinds
  of research, deployment, and data conversion costs.
  I'm sure MS loves to say: "buy all you products from us and they'll
  work together", because veterans know you can easily get in the
  finger pointing battle purchasing from two different vendors - 
  vendor A blames a problem on vendor B, vendor B points the finger
  of blame at vendor A and the customer is stuck in the middle with
  no solution.
  A dirt road sign in the mountains says: "choose your ruts carefully.
  You'll be in them for the next 20 miles".