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Re: Supply and Demand
> I am simply asking if it is ethical
> and/or legal under any circumstances to use a product give-away in order
> to establish market share.
Actually, you're still not getting the Netscape licensing agreements. It is
free for educational use and for non-profit organizations, and beta's are
always free. Individual users _should_ buy a copy, but the licensing is not
really enforced terribly hard unless you're a company. So, in effect, while
most people don't have to pay for it at home, it's still a distinctly
It is, however, acceptable to have products as shareware, or even freeware.
> Are you defending Microsoft's right to give
> away IE, provided they don't leverage the giveaway with the OS?
No. This is what is at issue regarding the predatory pricing violations.
Microsoft is utilizing it's other monopolies' profits to capture further
monopolies. There is a difference between predatory pricing and tying, both
of which are illegal, both of which Microsoft is quite obviously guilty of.
One way that the difference can be seen, not from so much a legal stand point,
but from a moral standpoint. The main business goal of Netscape is to create
software that distribute information. Netscape also produces a front end to
it's backend products (which are the products that actually make the whopping
70% of their profits, with the browser only capturing 18%)... So, in fact, the
browser is a perfect complement to the server products. In this case, it is
quite obvious that distributing a free browser is not so much tying or
predatory practices, but is in fact enabling users to use the primary product.
Another example of Microsoft tying and predatory tactics that is never
discussed is the fact that they include MS IIS with Windows NT, Advanced
Server. This is quite obviously again a seperate product that is being tied
and leveraged using predatory (free) pricing against competing products, of
which there are several to choose from (Netscape, O'Reilly, etc).
Well, what about the thing that kicked off all the anti-trust stuff to begin
with? The fact that you can buy NT Workstation and a Netscape Enterprise
server, and pay less than buying NT Advanced Server made Microsoft put in a
limit in the NT Workstation kernel that only allowed X number of incoming
TCP/IP connections. Well, after being threatened with lawsuits, Microsoft
took out this restriction in the kernel... but left it in the licensing
This in effect has hamstrung Netscape's ability to market it's webserver on
the NT platform. This aspect is hardly understood by the general public, so
it is currently being ignored by the DOJ and the press.