Washington Post: The Mystifying Microsoft Case

[ Thanks to Kevin
for this link. ]

“It was an interesting week for the “New Economy.” On Monday,
federal Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson declared that Microsoft had
violated the antitrust laws by engaging in predatory tactics that
discouraged technological competition. On Wednesday, the White
House staged a conference that credited the New Economy’s
technological advances for raising living standards and, possibly,
weakening the business cycle. For much of the week, stocks
fluctuated erratically. Connections and contradictions here beg to
be explored.”

“Among the panelists at the White House conference was Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates. Presumably, he was not invited because he is a
corporate thug, which is–by inference–how Jackson depicted him.
What are we to think of Gates? A larger contradiction looms. If
Microsoft is such an anticompetitive monster, how has the New
Economy become (at least by reputation) so competitive that it
raises efficiency and lowers inflation?”

“Because Microsoft’s operating systems (Windows and its
offspring) control roughly 90 percent of personal computers,
it’s hard to separate the company from this larger
transformation. Microsoft’s central contribution was (and is)
standardization. … Just how much the computer explosion depended
on standardization is hard to say. But the value must be

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