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Re: Competition in Software market research project

  Not to be overly critical, because your research is certainly
  important.  However, some thoughts: 
  1.	Are there not far more "reliable" indictors of a decline in
  competition, i.e. what is the Herfindahl index for Microsoft (just to
  pick a random example) re the "office",  "word processing",
  "spreadsheet", etc., markets (assuming that these are discrete and valid
  "markets" for antitrust purposes)?.  What was it one, two, or five or
  ten years ago? 
  2.	Are there not far more obvious sources, such as SEC etc. filings re
  the many  mergers and acquisitions that have taken place?
  3.	Are you not being a bit conclusory, i.e. a decline of advertising
  levels can be (but is not necessarily) a by product of a lot of factors,
  such as a more saturated or mature market, a desire not to
  "cannibalize", or, at least theoretically, a more or less perfectly
  competitive situation wherein the products compete on there own merits
  because the price, service, specs etc. are more or less equal and most
  consumers are already well informed (not that this is necessarily true
  4.	Have you factored in such other trends such as the effect of the
  "look and feel" litigation over the last several years, which has
  certainly levelled the playing field?
  5.	Your universe is both limited and not necessarily reliable.  Rate
  cards of magazines are not written in stone.  Are these  particular
  magazines truly independent from influence from the major  players? You
  can't necessarily extrapolate who paid for what and when for whatever.
  6.	What about bundling?  What about relative barriers to entry in the
  hardware and software markets?  Not to defend Bill Gates (he doesn't
  need my help), but it seems that it is still easier to enter or at least
  survive) in any if not all aspects of the PC applications software
  market than the PC CPU market these days, and your study is based on
  relative levels of advertising as between hardware and software.  
  In any event, perhaps you can enlighten us with your methodology.
  Howard Knopf
  Perley-Robertson, Panet, Hill & McDougall
  90 Sparks St.
  Ottawa, Canada
  Phone: 613-566-2820 or
  E-Mail: knopfh@perlaw.ca,hknopf@magmacom.com
  WebSite: http://www.perlaw.ca
  James Love wrote:
  > We would like to do a simple research project, comparing the level of
  > advertising for software over the past decade in two popular magazines
  > which cater to consumers who own personal computers that use the
  > microsoft operating system:  PC Magazine, and PC World.
  > Our hypothesis is that there has been a dramatic decline in the percent
  > of advertisements in these magazines for software (with a corresponding
  > percent shift in ads for computer hardware).  If true, this is evidence
  > that is consistent with the view that the market for mass market desktop
  > software applications is less competitive today.
  > It would be very helpful if people could send us some older issues of PC
  > World or PC Magazine, since we have not kept them.  Thanks much for any
  > older issues.  Our mailing address is P.O. Box 19367, Washington, DC
  > 20036.  For deliveries to the office directly (by UPS or other
  > non-postal carriers) use 1233 20th Street, Washington, DC 20036, Suite
  > 401.
  >    Thanks.  James Love <love@cptech.org>
  > --
  > James Love | Center for Study of Responsive Law
  > P.O. Box 19367 | Washington, DC 20036 | http://www.cptech.org
  > voice 202.387.8030 | fax 202.234.5176 | love@cptech.org
  > --
  > James Love | Center for Study of Responsive Law
  > P.O. Box 19367 | Washington, DC 20036 | http://www.cptech.org
  > voice 202.387.8030 | fax 202.234.5176 | love@cptech.org