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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 
  by hand. 
  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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