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The Jem Report: End of the New Age of Robber Barons

Oct 14, 2003, 01:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jem Matzan)

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"Technically the term 'Robber Baron' refers to two separate but related definitions: that of the late 19th century unscrupulous businessman, and that of the feudal European landed nobleman who regularly robbed those who passed through his lands. Both describe the same situation: using unethical means to acquire unearned wealth. But let's take it one step further and say that a Robber Baron is someone who takes more than what they are due from an innocent and needy third party.

"Working on that more specific interpretation, it's easy to draw a parallel between either of the above definitions and many modern-day software manufacturers. Considering the sickeningly high prices of most of the proprietary desktop software on the market and the consumer's need for this software, you could say that we as software users are the victims of Robber Barons. But the new era of Robber Barons is now in its twilight; soon we will have a reprieve from this unethical taking of unearned money. This article will show examples of companies currently in danger, identify some of the signs of impending doom and explain what could be done to counter them..."

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