Re: Coercive Monopolies in Technical Markets (Intro)

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 13:09:49 PDT

> Upon seeing the full quote, my objection stands. I believe this author
> means, by "exclusive control of a given field of production which is
> closed to and exempt from competition", someone who can violently or
> legally retaliate against competitors.

Context, Gojo. There's no mention of violent retaliation, and the legal argument is
formulated in terms of cause rather than effect. Again, I defer to the material

> Yes, I do believe competitive threats are part of the pricing
> decision.

So what is the competitive threat that a corporate accountant, say, is going to run
anything other than Windows? Zero. Even at *SUN* the accountants have Windows PCs.

> Well, I don't agree with Greenspan any more than I do with you; and
> my point remains: VCs are just a tiny part of the competitive matrix.
> They're also just a small part of the capital markets. Only if no one
> can offer competing alternatives -- not hordes of loosely-coordinated
> volunteers,

Voluneers are altruists, and we know how awful those bastards are. ;-)

> Or vice-versa, you can gerrymander the markets in the other direction,
> and make them look like an invulnerable monopolist in some narrow,
> mature market segments when competition for new markets is coming at
> them from every direction.

Point. But this whole market-definitional issue is the heart of the controversy.
It's the point on which the whole Justice Department case turns. We can both rest
easy knowing that each of us has a point of view which has been vigorously championed
by much better-prepared advocates, with the result being no particular general

> > One hallmark of harmful monopoly behavior is in its use of
> > dominance in one area to drive out competition in others. Even the most rabid
> > free marketer with any experience in this industry at all must agree that
> > Microsoft *does* in fact do that.
> The most rabid free-marketers would say that Microsoft isn't
> "driving out" competition, but rather using their earned
> expertise and brand trust and the customer's love of integration
> and single-source solutions from known companies to expand
> their business.

Actually, "driving out" is a bad term. I should rather have said "preventing entry
into various new markets simply by FUD, when in fact Microsoft has no competitive
presence in those new markets and no immediate plans to enter those markets."

> When you use the word "coercive monopoly" to mean something
> that "strangely enough doesn't have much to do with coercion",
> then you're sowing confusion and doing harm to causes --
> such as minimizing real coercion -- that I would think we
> both hold dear.

Fair enough. Let's call them "damaging monopolies." I'll end (again) with the
observation that I didn't make the term up, I was using it directly from a source
that we can both agree is authoritative, even if neither of us totally agrees with
said source.


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