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E-mail blitz? A question . . .
As a cynic once said about voting, "If E-mail could actually change
anything, it would be illegal."
Better to write all those judges and senators on paper which, more
than ever now that we live amidst a torrent of electronic bits, has
tremendously more weight and presence. Hell, go all the way and write 'em
Here's a question: Is there something about the computer industry, or
computer technology itself--something structural, say--that actually
favors a monopoly? That tends the business towards domination by a single
company? The sheer cost of coordinating the interplay of all those
interfaces, perhaps, which might be considerably lower for a single,
unified organization vs. a committee of competing entities (aka "the
History says the answer is yes: First there was IBM, now Msft.
Has anyone here read the 1986 book, Big Blue, about IBM's monopoly. (This
is not Big Blues, about the IBM vs. Msft, but a more-serious analysis of
how IBM obtained and maintained its monopoly up through the mid-1980s;
alas, it just missed the impending demise of IBM [altho it correctly
identified the cause--too many interfaces and operating systems to
manage, vs. DEC and its A-Z compatible VAXes] and Msft's ascendency.)
Author is Tom DeLamarter; publisher Dodd, Mead. I helped edit this book
and highly recommend it to anyone who's interested in the workings of
computer monopolies--at least in the era of differentiated hardware
Msft's is a software-based monopoly, of course, which is much more
slippery to identify and nail down, in court or the classroom. Who the
hell knows, for instance, how much it actually costs to build a new
operating system, or printer driver, for that matter? The leverage is
tremendous for the supplier--a few extra dollars in making an interface
purposely difficult to decode and emulate brings enormous returns in
having a market segment to yourself for a few extra months.
John W. Verity * 140 8th Ave. 5R, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215-1728 * 718-622-5680
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