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Re: Trip Report: Nader's conference on Microsoft

  On Tue, 2 Dec 1997 19:50:39 -0500 (EST), Mitch Stone wrote:
  >The same can hardly be said for computer software and OS's; they define 
  >the entire functionality of the device, from personality to reliability. 
  >We would expect the variety of consumer preferences expressed here be 
  >much more like cars than VCRs. Ironically, we are well on our way to 
  >achieving _less_ variety in the computer market than in the video tape 
       I agree, for the VCR analogy to work in this instance the tape
  format would also have to determine who's movies could be viewed using
  each specific format.  In other words if you could only view movies
  released by 'Universal' and 'TriStar' on VHS but would need to be using
  BetaMax for those released by 'Disney' the analogy would work, but
  since specific content is moot so is the analogy.
  >How can this be? The fact is that the software markets have gone well 
  >beyond "tipping" effects, and on to "shoving." Standards are being 
  >enforced on the markets arbitrarily, mainly by dint of the determination 
  >of the leader to protect its position by suppressing competition. If 
  >anything, the video tape analogy lends support to this point, not the 
  >conventional view that it proves that "one standard must prevail."
       I don't know if you intended it to be but your statement that
  standards are "enforced" is more accurate than you may have originally
  thought ;-).  The truth is that when you're talking about what M$ has
  been doing the word "standard" is a real misnomer, something like "M$'s
  way" would be more accurate.  The word "standard" implies an agreed
  upon method for doing something when what we really have is a single
  company that's dictating what methods will be used, and when those
  methods will be changed.  The fact is that there is no standard, only
  M$'s proprietary methods that are subject to change whenever they feel
  the need to increase revenue with a new "upgrade". 
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