- Capitalism and Alternatives -

If you make your terms vague enough, you can argue black is white.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on October 22, 1999 at 15:13:57:

In Reply to: Define any market narrowly enough, and you can call it a monopoly. posted by Loudon Head on October 22, 1999 at 13:42:22:

: : Servers aren't clients, though; the actual desktop PC has run a Microsoft OS by default ever since Windows 3.1 was brought out. To try and claim that Microsoft doesn't have a monopoly on the everyday home PC is, I'm afraid, stupid and ignorant of the actual evidence. Like I said, try buying a preassembled PC with anything that isn't Windows 95, 98 or NT loaded. You can't; 99% of the PCs sold have one of those 3 OSes on; all of which come from the same customer.

: Define any market narrowly enough, and you can call it a monopoly. For example, I have a monopoly on me.

The PC market is not exactly "narrow". That's why Bill Gates is the richest man on the planet.

: I've snipped most of your post because, frankly, most of it is entirely beside the point and, while it displays an enviable knowledge of the recent history of computing, betrays the fact that you apparently know zip about economics. The descriptor "non-commercial" (which you added to "competitor" in reference to Linux) is completely meaningless in the context of economic theory and the nature of monopolies. My point was always that unless Microsoft controls 100% of the market (look up "mono" in the dictionary), it's not a monopoly. If it has any competitors, whether they are "commercial" or "non-commercial" (to adopt your arbitrary wording), it's not a monopoly.

- which means that you are arguing that there is no need for any diversity in the marketplace; you only need one company to produce anything.

Are you really suggesting that Microsoft should be the only company producing commercial computer software? And that anything they do to preserve this position is entirely OK, since there is always room for non-commercial competitors to evolve?

By your own ideological assumptions, this will never happen. The only reason that Linux exists is because people were willing to produce something for nothing; hardly the act of rational self-interested people with an eye on the cash.

Heck, why not extend the idea to the political sphere as well?; there's only the need for one government, after all; so just have one political party; and anyone who feels differently can set up their own political party outside the current political system...

The fact remains, Microsoft is being taken to trial on the ground that they have a *commercial* monopoly; not because they're the only operating system around. Given that the vast majority of people are denied a choice in their consumption because of this, it conforms to what any reasonable person would describe as a "monopoly".

As I've always said; try buying a normal personal computer with a non-Windows operating system on it. Until you can do that, you have no effective rebuttal to my charge of monopoly by Microsoft.


(Yes; I'm aware that there are now companies like VA who will sell you a Lintel box (i.e., Linux on an Intel PC); but they constitute less than 1 per cent of sales; and MS is still trying to force them out of business. If that's not a "monopoly" as the term is generally used, then what is?).

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