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osOpinion: The Warped Perspective: April 2000

Apr 03, 2000, 06:41 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Tom Nadeau)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"One model for the software market is the ecosystem. We might look at the case of a bacteria culture in a Petri dish. If you provide only a small growth space for a culture, few species will survive, new introductions will find survival very difficult, and even surviving varieties will have their growth limited by the physical size of their environment. But use a bathtub-sized dish, and not only will survivors grow and multiply but even smaller competitors and newly-arrived alternatives have room to grow and prosper in such a large space. This is why Microsoft has insisted on using ruthless, monopolistic methods at the OS level: to build their own "Petri dish" to an unnatural and unrealistically large percentage of the PC environment, while simultaneously preventing other OS "Petri dish" environments from becoming established and growing large enough to reach "critical mass" and become thriving, self-supporting development communities."

"This is also why the fastest-growing competitors to Windows -- environments such as Linux, BeOS, and the Mac variations -- had to get their start on non-Intel hardware platforms. By using the non-PC "substrates" to start their application development cultures, these OSs were not locked out of a growth environment by Microsoft's monopolistic shenanigans. Also, their inability to run native DOS and Windows applications meant that fledgling native-code ISVs on these platforms were not competing wtih an established, well-funded set of pre-existing competitors. Thus these ISVs had a dual advantage over native OS/2 application developers attempting to grow in the oppressive world of Intel-compatible PCs."

"Therefore, any DOJ-Microsoft settlement or antitrust court decision ought to take into account the Microsoft preload monopoly and move towards dismantling it. Also, the harmful effects of growth-inhibiting monopolistic conditions upon non-Windows ISVs must be addressed. (Perhaps Microsoft will be forced to subsidize non-Windows ISVs???)"

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