Friday, September 21, 2007

Ehhhhhhh ... No

The New York Times today has this just utterly brilliant editorial in support of Microsoft's defeat in an anti-trust case in European court. (If you couldn't tell, I'm being sarcastic.)

The court agreed with European regulators that Microsoft had abused its operating system monopoly by incorporating its Media Player, which plays music and films, into Windows. That shut out rivals, like RealPlayer. The decision sets a sound precedent that companies may not leverage their dominance in one market (the operating system) to extend it into new ones (the player).

The court also agreed that Microsoft should provide rival software companies the information they need to make their products work with Microsoft’s server software. That establishes the welcome principle of interoperability, which should spur innovation in the future.

American regulators — who have reacted to the European court decision as if it were a mortal blow against capitalism itself — should embrace it as a healthy step in the growth of the information economy.

So, if you design a product, say for example a computer operating system, you can't include other products that work with that operating system - say for example, a media player or some other sort of software. And to top it all off, you have to provide information about your product to rival companies.

Now maybe I'm just crazy, but what's the problem here, and why does the New York Times think this was a good decision? Why can't Microsoft sell whatever damn product they want? There are other operating systems out there - I had thought Microsoft was dominant because Windows is the operating system people most often chose to buy and use. Let me be very clear- monopolies are a bad thing because they deprive consumers of choices and tend to stagnate growth and development within the monopolized industry. Oh, and by the way, monopolies generally develop because of the interference of government. Rather than being a true monopoly, Microsoft simply commands a large share of the market because it makes a good product. For those of you who think decisions like this are about fairness, think again. This is about Microsoft's competitors- other big companies- using government to gain an advantage. A healthy step? Does anyone see any problems in the information economy? I didn't think so. The New York Times is just plain stupid.


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