RE: IP Protection ...

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: John Hall (
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 16:25:59 PDT

> [johnhall]
> I wouldn't count on the government prevailing on the issue of tieing, and
> the monopoly claim depends upon a creative definition of market. Ford is
> monopoly, too. They are the only ones allowed to make Ford cars.

That's clearly not a good analogy. In fact, for the present case it's
not even important that Linux is gaining ground. MS did have an
effectively total monopoly for a couple years at least during which they
actively killed off any competition in arguably illegal ways.

Let's try a better analogy: Say Sony buys all movie theaters in the US
that are multiple screen, general cinema. The only ones that are left
are art theatres, second runs, etc. They refuse to lease any of their
movies to any non-Sony theatre. Furthermore they require exclusive
contracts with any popcorn supplier that prevents sales to independant
movies. Then they require that directors and studios sign exclusive
contracts. Actors that work for art films are banned from Sony movies.

Then they buy Blockbuster who then switches to only Sony approved
movies. Etc.

The market was defined without reference to Sun Workstations and Apple
computers, both direct competitors that produced something which did much
the same thing (like GM vs. Ford).

MS did not, and in fact was legally prohibited from, writing a contract that
said "thou shalt not load Netscape on your PCs". Companies did do so.

What Netscape tried to do was write a contract which said "thou shalt not
load IE on your PC's". They could write those contracts, and they did write

MSFT prohibited companies from NOT shipping IE with the rest of windows.
That didn't prevent Netscape from being distributed, as over a hundred
million downloads in the time of interest demonstrate.

It would have been tying if they were doing it with a product they were
selling (like Office). And I'm quite sure they would have signed an
agreement pledging to always give away a browser, it wasn't a ploy to start
charging for it later (like Netscape).

Further, the example of most other OS systems shipping browsers with their
products illustrates the fundamental logic that 'it is a tool that belongs

As for short term vs. long term, you are explicitly arguing that customers
should be denied choices now, and have worse products, to support a
particular competitor for possible benefits in the long term. That
certainly doesn't seem to be an easily defensible position.

Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon May 14 2001 - 16:33:54 PDT