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Re: AT&T, IBM, SOC and M$
On Sun, Dec 21, 1997 at 11:21:02AM -0500, claribba wrote:
For a lucid article on antitrust vs. AT&T, IBM, Standard Oil Co., and a
couple of other cases, see today's [12-21-97] San Jose Mercury article by
Scott Herhold & Scott Thurm "Antitrust: big no longer equals bad" at:
Interesting article, but I'm a bit surprised at some of its conclusions. I
found this paragraph about Standard Oil to be especially interesting:
But its tactics inspired disgust. Standard manipulated prices; it
negotiated sweetheart deals with the railroads, paid premiums to firms
that deserted its competitors and even propped up phony competitors. If a
company refused to be acquired, Standard often vowed to drive it out of
Am I the only one who sees a very strong parallel here between Standard and
Microsoft? Let me see ...
"manipulated prices" -- I don't personally know of any instances of this,
but certain cases of product dumping come to mind, such as MSIE or MS-Word
in its early days.
"negotiated sweetheart deals with the railroads" -- How about the deals
Microsoft has with system vendors such as Dell, Compaq, Packard Bell, and
others? Although they are probably sweeter for MS than for the vendors.
And I don't know details about their deals with expansion board
vendors--maybe it's those vendors' choice to service only the Windows market
to the exclusion of others.
"paid premiums to firms that deserted its competitors" -- Competitive
upgrades? And I have heard of several instances where MS paid development
firms to develop for Windows, which is not an uncommon practice in the
industry. Were the payments ever different for those who developed
*exclusively* for Windows? Also, there are the instances I mentioned in an
earlier post, about companies whose flow of early betas was dependent on
avoiding other OS's. Early access is a sort of premium, I suppose. I have
no hard data on this, and am unlikely to get any without subpoena power.
"propped up phony competitors" -- Can you say Apple?
"If a company refused to be acquired, Standard often vowed to drive it out
of business." -- Can you say Netscape? Stac? The list here is pretty long.
I wish I had more hard data, but as a private individual, I'm dependent on
the press and on rumors, and MS is pretty good at manipulating both of those
One thing I *can* say for certain--MS's tactics inspire disgust, not only in
me but in others.