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Europe revives claims of Microsoft web browser monopoly - Page 4

post #121 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Good, go live in Somalia. There's hardly any government there. It's a libertarian paradise.

I'm a Classical Liberal [Libertarian] of the Jefferson/Paine/Adam Smith constructs and it truly astonishes me how what is being passed off as Liberterianism is nothing but some borderline anarchist state who can't grasp that even an Anarchist nation needs a solid National Infrastructure for us to enjoy the level of lifestyle we've become accustomed to enjoying.

The thought that we should just privately fund the Rails and not create a solid, regionally connected, heavy-freight and highspeed lightrail system with a mixed funding system [private and public] is one of the reasons I can't endorse the LP party. Add to the fact we'd rather not build regional canals to regulate flood conditions and droughting in the Southwest, to adding a jointly funded/managed modular power grid, to build out new rails to transport alternative fuels or power zones to transport the collected solar, pebble-bed nuclear and wind power output only adds to my annoyance of the obvious.

I don't care what party you associate your leanings towards, if their isn't a modern multi-layered national infrastructure this Democratic Republic will crumble, sooner rather than later.

Suck it up, hire engineers from the traditional disciplines [hand waiving over here] and let's get this piece of crap '45 Packard we call our national infrastructure and instead of rebuilding the globe, after we blow it up or disrupt it, fix our own and lead the world in advancement.
post #122 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

If you steal a car and you get convicted of car theft, then you need to return the car because it's the fruit of criminal activity.

Microsoft committed the crime of antitrust abuse and established a browser monopoly. Then they were convicted of the crime. Yet, thanks to Bush (who was very $trongly supported by Bill Gates and Microsoft) Microsoft was not forced to shed the browser monopoly which was the fruit of their criminal activity.

Even forgetting antitrust, just for their support of Bush in 2000, and the ensuing catastrophe that that imbecile brought upon the nation and the world, Microsoft deserves to be punished.

Oh so now it's Bush's fault. Give me a freaking break. What did the great Clinton do. Sold the country to middle eastern thugs and had a bitch suck his dick.
post #123 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Roughly 200 million people were killed by own governments in the 20th century, excluding wars, and excluding deaths from malaria after DDT was banned. This compares with about 6 million private homicides globally, in the same period. I will get stats.

1) You have failed to cite even a single source.

2) 'Their own government' is not the same as all governments of the world combined.
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post #124 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil-TB2 View Post

While it would be nice for more people to know what the requirements for a monopoly is, they would be better off looking it up on the wiki than listening to this drivel. This is the second time in less than a week you have managed to squeeze in this long wacky conspiracy theory of yours about governments and monopolies.

Please just stop.

You have no idea what a monopoly is and your attempts to redefine it single-handedly are doomed to fail.

If you really want to advance this nonsense, do what everyone else does and write a book about it. If you sell a few hundred thousand, then maybe we should listen to your crazy ideas, but until then I think you should just tie down your tin-foil hat a bit tighter and hunker down in the damp cardboard box you no doubt call home.

Wow! Talk about authoritative jabber whable. The Government IS a monopoly in it's present state. You have to be blind not to see it.
post #125 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) You have failed to cite even a single source.

Not failed; delayed.

The conservative number of people killed by governments is 170 million citizens killed in the 20h century, plus 37 million people killed in wars. The source for the info is an article called "A League of Evil" in The Economist magazine, September 11th issue, 1999, page 7. This does not include the estimated 60 million people who died from malaria after DDT was banned.

I am hunting down the source on normal (non government) murder rates, but it was around 6 million for the 20th century, and I remember there was a 30 to one ratio.

Quote:
2) 'Their own government' is not the same as all governments of the world combined.

How can you possibly know if and when one of the' nice' governments is going to turn nasty? I doubt that most Russians at in the early 20th century had any idea that the slaughterhouse of communism was right around the corner. Many Jews in 1930s Germany could never imagine that that Nazism would take over and in a few years and kill millions of them. Zimbabwe used to be a pleasant western country, before Mugabe took over. America used to be a relatively free republic with the smallest government in the world, where people had the right to a trial, soldiers couldn't patrol the streets, and the dollar was as good as gold - and now, they are a tyrannical empire with the biggest government in history, the patriot act, a rapidly inflating currency, and a collapsing economy. Governments are unstable, you can't say that "I'm in one of the nice governments, so i have nothing to worry about." I'll bet you that most of those 170 million people thought they were safe too, until it was too late.
post #126 of 150
Okay, I've just registered for the sake of straightening a few things out.

a) Monopoly/dominant position

There is no talk of a monopoly in this case, rather a dominant position. I haven't seen a single post that contained correct information concerning competition law, and so I felt it important to state the obvious before going on to the next part.
If you don't know what the difference is, I suggest you refrain from saying anything until you have read up some information.

b) Abuse

The behaviour at stake here is the bundling of IE in Windows, which is still used on 90% of the world's computers.
Though in the past few years, Firefox has gained leaps of market share, IE is still the most widely used browser.
Basically, the behaviour of which the EU Commission is accusing Microsoft is that it is using its dominant position in the OS market to leverage its position in the browser market.

c) EU/US differences

In the US, the focus is on "freedom", whereas in the EU, the focus is on "consumer choice".
In the US, bundling is not truly a problem, because the company is free to do whatever it wants (well, pretty much). In the EU, however, bundling when you have a dominant position is a truly anticompetitive behaviour.

d) IE's market share

It doesn't matter whether IE doesn't have 90% of the browser market share any more. That has nothing to do with the claim. The problem is that Microsoft could regain its market share by continuing to bundle IE with Windows.
For those interested, read the Hilti case. Hilti didn't have a dominant position on the nail market, but did so on the nail gun market, and also on the nail cartridge market because of its dominant position on the nail gun market.

e) The solution

There are loads of unimaginative remarks about the fact that "you can't download a browser without a browser".
The solution wouldn't necessarily be an absence of browsers.
One solution would be the availability of browser downloaders, but another would be the automatic bundling of IE, Opera and Firefox. That wouldn't be as much of a problem if Firefox, Opera and IE are both treated the same way by Windows, i.e. if they are both on the desktop, if they both get small icons in the toolbar,

f) What about Apple?

Apple is fortunate enough not to have a dominant position on the OS or computer markets. If it did gain market share in a significant way, however, its practices would also be put into question.
Its use of the App Store on the iPhone could also at some point become troublesome, especially if the iPhone becomes the iPod of cellular phone and Apple still doesn't allow certain kinds of applications (especially without clear guidelines).

The only two places where Apple has a dominant position are its iPod (a clear dominant position in the MP3-player market) and digital music sales. One day, someone might try to say that Apple used its dominant position on the MP3-player market to leverage its position on the digital music sales market, or vice-versa. And, who knows, there might be an antitrust case here.
post #127 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Roughly 200 million people were killed by own governments in the 20th century, excluding wars, and excluding deaths from malaria after DDT was banned. This compares with about 6 million private homicides globally, in the same period. I will get stats.

OK, so you're mixing up all governments with a broad brush when we're talking about the EU, I see no indication that the problems of the last century would suggest that EU states as they are now are going to turn into rogue states. Even so, if such a change were to happen, I don't see how not allowing them to regulate commerce now in going to change when and how severely they would change into malevolent states.

The DDT part is pretty tenuous, if ecologies had collapsed from the continued overuse of DDT, then there's no knowing how many people would have died from the loss of life sustaining ecologies.
post #128 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

I am hunting down the source on normal (non government) murder rates, but it was around 6 million for the 20th century, and I remember there was a 30 to one ratio.

Such a number can not be set in stone. Their are many ways to define a government. I'm sure the most vile ruling parties wouldn't be seen as valid governments by most other nations, yet I bet those are counted in your source.

Quote:
How can you possibly know if and when one of the' nice' governments is going to turn nasty?.

I can't but you apparently can. But that isn't what you stated, now is it? You stated a date of the 20th century, not some future date. You are sounding more and more trollish with each anarchical laden post.
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post #129 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Genius! You saw straight to the heart of the issue and cut through all of this 'monopoly' nonsense.

I hate to be annoying, but the only monopoly here is the EU. At least people can compete with Microsoft - the success of safari and firefox are proof of that. What about competing with the EU's services? Why aren't there 3rd party companies that also provide the service of regulating monopolies? Or private police to compete with the EU's? Clearly, there's a double standard here. The government is a monopoly - the first monopoly, the biggest, a monopoly that has killed countless people in wars and failed social experiments. Whatever Microsoft has done, i'll bet you the EU has done worse, so it seems strange to me that the EU of all organisations should be in charge of this. Maybe that's just me, but it does seem a bit silly for people to be directing their energies against Microsoft. No matter how you justify it, i can assure you that Microsoft doesn't start wars, they don't have the power to tax you, to jail you for harmless activities, or to forcefully control how you run your business. Microsoft simply don't have this kind of power - if you don't like them, you are free to choose someone else's products! People, get your priorities right. You know better than this, we all do. Not to mention the practical side of this: If you ask for a world where governments can regulate businesses at will, then companies like Apple will not survive. Government stifles creativity - innovative companies will disappear, and be replaced by the businesses with the most 'political influence'. And that is certainly not a world where you can have nice shiny iPods and all of the good stuff that Apple keeps bringing us.

Anyone who supports this cannot claim to be against monopolies at all. People are picking and choosing which monopolies are 'good' and 'bad' on nothing more than a whim. You can't say "Monopolies are bad, so we really need to create an even bigger monopoly called the government to regulate the smaller monopolies, because monopolies are good!" That's a contradiction. If you don't like monopolies, then I am afraid that the first place you have to direct your energy towards is the government, not some decaying software company with shrinking market share.

That Ayn Rand Thesaurus must be getting a little tattered, huh?
BTW, how's this nice de-regulated economy working out. Thought so.
post #130 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

BTW, how's this nice de-regulated economy working out. Thought so.

Depends on your view of the root of the problem. Oversupply of cheap money with little to no risk ("skin") in the game (no money down half million dollar mortgages with little or no background vetting....thank Congress for that gem, mortgage industry didn't push that turkey) is the prevalent view with 'deregulation' being the CYA smokescreen. Did anyone in California really believe their house was worth that much? By setting rules for lending at the federal level, it invited mindless, reckless deals. Absent that government fiasco, it's working out very well and we could use more deregulation, especially in the recovery areas. What's most needed is oversight and transparency (political especially). Most deregulation in the U.S. goes back to the Eisenhower administration and was bipartisan throughout the last 50 years. Jimmy Carter, a democrat, was actually one of the most avid industry deregulators (transportation especially)....not Ronald Reagan. Given his economics appointments, Obama may very well continue that process. It depends on how it's done. Governments are nothing more than people like you and I. It's about control.

The EU complaint lacks sense. Where are the damages? Imagine being in court for murder and the prosecution points to a man seated in the front row as the victim, who stands up and identifies himself as the murdered man...you have a problem. The complaint goes to competition. Buy any Windows loaded machine (2000, ME, XP, Vista, beta Windows7), and as soon as you launch IE, you can download any other browser you like, then unload IE (what difference does it make if some .dlls are still there as far as competition goes?). How is competition being foiled?
post #131 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasein View Post

How is competition being foiled?

It beggars belief that this should need to be explained to anyone. IE is built into Windows. The vast majority of computers sold in the EU come with Windows. Therefore IE does not have to compete on merit to be installed and used by end-users.
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post #132 of 150
Get that dang-nabbed browser out of the OS. I don't care if you provide IE with Windows or even WMP, for that matter, but just untie IE from the freakin OS! Most of the issues with Windows security is because IE is Windows. There is no real separation of the two.
post #133 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by MotherBrain View Post

There is no real separation of the two.

So what? That's NOT the EU's complaint. BTW, that's because the browser doubletimes as a drive browser for the same look and feel. There are dozens of processes that are integral to the OS.
post #134 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Such a number can not be set in stone. Their are many ways to define a government. I'm sure the most vile ruling parties wouldn't be seen as valid governments by most other nations, yet I bet those are counted in your source.

A government has 2 criteria:

1) It is an organisation with a geographical monopoly on the power to use violence. It is illegal to compete with them or copy them within their monopoly area.

2) Unlike normal criminal activity, a government is propped up by a veil of legitimacy - the people believe that the government is moral, right, or necessary, and even if they disagree with it, they will continue to provide moral support for it. Governments must have the sanction of the people they rule over.

When this veil of legitimacy falls, the government is just a criminal gang, and usually a revolution follows where someone else who does have a veil of legitimacy takes over.


I think it might be a bit silly to just say "Governments are good, until they get really bad, then we can define them as something else." I mean, that sort of thing is not going to help any discussion advance. An organisation does not require the approval of foreigners in order to be a government.

Soviet Union - 62 million killed
Nazi Germany - 21 million killed
Chinese Kuomintang - 10 million killed
Chinese communists - 35 million killed
Japanese Empire - 6 million killed

These were all governments. Sanctioned by the people, with a monopoly on the power to use violence.

Quote:
I can't but you apparently can. But that isn't what you stated, now is it? You stated a date of the 20th century, not some future date. You are sounding more and more trollish with each anarchical laden post.

That's not an answer, you're just accusing me of hypocrisy. I will answer you, though.

There are 2 ways to know the truth about something: Logic and evidence. I have been using logic to demonstrate why the idea of government regulation of monopolies is a contradiction. The purpose of evidence is to look at the past in order to create a series of general principles which can help us in the present and future. I have shown you evidence that governments have been unstable organisations which occasionally snapped, killing millions of people. Moreover, I pointed out that many of those victims (like the Jews) thought they were safe until it was too late - they didn't know what was coming. This evidence gives us 3 general principles:

1) It is the nature of governments to sometimes snap and kill lots of people.

2) This happens with so little warning that millions of people can be killed.

3) Just because a government hasn't snapped yet doesn't mean that it never will. If this were a very very rare thing, then it would be less of a concern, these numbers wouldn't be so large, and I would not have brought them up. But the numbers are large, and it happens often enough, to be genuinely concerned about this risk.

Now, there are some warning signs that things are getting gradually worse. People who look at history, good philosophy and economics might notice some warning signs like an increase in mystical thinking in society, regulations of business, militarisation of the police, checkpoints, economic crisis, high inflation, loss of civil liberties, restrictions on travel, and so on. If they are smart, they will leave at this point. Many Jews left Germany before it was too late, because they were paying attention. As fast as the transition was in Germany, it was only the final stage in a long series of gradual increases in power that had accumulated over the previous decades. Russia was more sudden because it involved a complete change in government.

So yes, if your government happens to go bad, you might be one of the people who can see it coming, and get out in time. But what if you don't? Is that really an acceptable risk for us to have, in the 21st century? Shouldn't we have more sympathy for the 170 million people who lost their lives for this collective fantasy? Or, should we just pay lip service to the tragedy, as if 170 million deaths is an acceptable cost of having government? There is something... missing... if all of these people's lives don't make a difference to your assessment.
post #135 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasein View Post

Depends on your view of the root of the problem. Oversupply of cheap money with little to no risk ("skin") in the game (no money down half million dollar mortgages with little or no background vetting....thank Congress for that gem, mortgage industry didn't push that turkey) is the prevalent view with 'deregulation' being the CYA smokescreen. Did anyone in California really believe their house was worth that much? By setting rules for lending at the federal level, it invited mindless, reckless deals. Absent that government fiasco, it's working out very well and we could use more deregulation, especially in the recovery areas. What's most needed is oversight and transparency (political especially). Most deregulation in the U.S. goes back to the Eisenhower administration and was bipartisan throughout the last 50 years. Jimmy Carter, a democrat, was actually one of the most avid industry deregulators (transportation especially)....not Ronald Reagan. Given his economics appointments, Obama may very well continue that process. It depends on how it's done. Governments are nothing more than people like you and I. It's about control.

The EU complaint lacks sense. Where are the damages? Imagine being in court for murder and the prosecution points to a man seated in the front row as the victim, who stands up and identifies himself as the murdered man...you have a problem. The complaint goes to competition. Buy any Windows loaded machine (2000, ME, XP, Vista, beta Windows7), and as soon as you launch IE, you can download any other browser you like, then unload IE (what difference does it make if some .dlls are still there as far as competition goes?). How is competition being foiled?

Sorry, but once the reaganites discovered that they could continue to destroy wages (i.e. unions) and still keep people spending by getting them to mortage their homes (and futures) with cheap credit, the game was over.
De-regulation has been tried now to a far greater degree than ever thought possible, and found to be empty. Even Ayn's greatest disciple, Alan Greenspan, finally admitted that he was 'shocked' to find that greedy bastards with unlimited wealth dangling before them (due to lack of gov't oversite) do not act in their own 'selfish best interest'. Randians can now go back into their corner and argue amongst themselves about how many Objectivists can dance on the head of a pin.
BTW, I spent about 20 years as the hardest-core Randian MF you've ever run into.
Took a lot to finally see the light. Every John Galt stands on the shoulders of incremental progress, achieved by protection of the commons.
Thus ends my betrayal of my rule to never argue with Randians or Jehovah's Witneses.
post #136 of 150
Surely this must be a ploy by Microsoft to make it seem like Internet Explorer still matters.
post #137 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

Your not getting it, if safari for example is exposing my mac to a security risk i could just take it and delete and never see it again if i wish, iE is embedded to the OS so you can't get rid of it and have windows work right, to me iE is like a door for all kinds things to makes it's way to your machine but a door you can't close shut

Webkit is just as embedded in OS X as IE's frameworks are in Windows.
post #138 of 150
Also, all of you who have turned a discussion about a WEB BROWSER into an opportunity to argue about POLITICS need to get a freaking life.

Seriously.
post #139 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQB View Post

Sorry, but once the reaganites discovered that they could continue to destroy wages (i.e. unions) and still keep people spending by getting them to mortage their homes (and futures) with cheap credit, the game was over.

Yeah, Reagan talked a lot about freedom and small government, but he grew the government by two thirds during his presidency. I don't think you can get elected and then get away with radically shrinking government - too many people will get in your way. Attitudes in society have to change from the bottom up, in my opinion.

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De-regulation has been tried now to a far greater degree than ever thought possible, and found to be empty.

How so? I have not heard of the government dropping regulations, but rather adding new ones. Sometimes, the government will sell off one of its monopolies to their buddies in the private sector, without actually legally opening the market to competition. Incredibly, they call this fascistic blend of private profits and government power 'privatisation'. The only place I know of where the government has been greatly reducing regulations and going in a less authoritarian direction is China, presumably because this gives the government more wealth to tax.

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Even Ayn's greatest disciple, Alan Greenspan...

Greenspan is interesting. He was one of Rand's closer friends, he even gave suggestions to Rand on editing her book Atlas Shrugged. He wrote articles about how money should be left to the free market, that it should be gold, and that paper money was bad. Then, in the early '80s, probably after Rand died, he began working his way up in the government. I think he sold out, because he then got a job as head of the Federal Reserve, where he spent the next decade and a half doing the exact opposite of what he had preached. he had a significant role in creating the current economic bubble. Congressman Ron Paul confronted him many times about it, and he once asked Greenspan to sign the old article he wrote about the importance of leaving money to the free market. Greenspan signed the article, then simply said that he had changed his views.

Quote:
... finally admitted that he was 'shocked' to find that greedy bastards with unlimited wealth dangling before them (due to lack of gov't oversite) do not act in their own 'selfish best interest'. Randians can now go back into their corner and argue amongst themselves about how many Objectivists can dance on the head of a pin.

What does this even mean? There would have to be some kind of example to qualify this statement. Do you mean Halliburton, the big media companies, or all of the financial institutions which created the current bubble? They are all heavily involved with government power and regulations, and many of them owe their fortunes to these sort of unholy alliances. Remember the "looters" in Atlas Shrugged, like Jim Taggart and Oren Boyle? It's them. The current business world is full of them, versus the Henry Reardens of the world. Think of people like Steve Jobs.

Quote:
BTW, I spent about 20 years as the hardest-core Randian MF you've ever run into.
Took a lot to finally see the light. Every John Galt stands on the shoulders of incremental progress, achieved by protection of the commons.
Thus ends my betrayal of my rule to never argue with Randians or Jehovah's Witneses.

As brilliant as Rand was, there were a few major inconsistencies in her ideas. She didn't incorporate nearly enough real psychology into Objectivism. Did you ever read into her personal life? It's quite sad what happened in her relationships and her movement, and it was almost inevitable that it would happen that way. One minor correction, though: Rand never denied that greatness builds on the shoulders of others: instead, she showed that all genius is a product of the mind, of conscious thinking, reason, questioning, and action, not faith, whim, mysticism or irrationality. Compulsion and violence are the enemy of man's mind, of his creative process. The extent to which man is controlled is the extent to which his creative capacity is stifled. Those in society who live of the labour and mental energy of others are parasites, who depend on their victims invent the very tools needed to enslave them, and a mixed economy represents the maximum amount of control they can exercise before productivity starts dipping into the negative. I don't see how the fact that others came before these geniuses somehow invalidates their greatness - Rand never claimed this. Most of what she said was that heroes were the rare, exceptional people in society who move the world forward, and that we should look up to their achievements, instead of hating them for being good.
post #140 of 150
Simple truth. Like most others have pointed out. If government really do care about NON IE, they should start designing their website to be Firefox , Saferi Compatible.
post #141 of 150
I've enjoyed the off-topic posts very much. If you ever want to read another brilliant mind on the dangers of monopoly power, Peter Lynch brushes over the issue in Learn to Earn.

We've heard a lot lately about how bad our economic system is, how horrible deregulation has been, and why it's all the fault of <insert opposing political party here>.

This is normal and illustrates the power of psychology in driving man to do stupid things. Greed is capitalism's dirty little secret. Simultaneously fueling ambition to succeed in some and metastasizing into destructive behavior that can bring down an entire economy in others. Yet it's the best system we've yet devised to create and spread wealth.

The pendulum is swinging towards the other side now and we'll have to learn hard lessons yet again. Unable to achieve perfection, our economic system is being replaced with even bigger govt. Rather than tinker around the edges, we are driven by fear to take drastic action that may be even more painful to undo later. This is another business cycle with what appears to be a nasty trough - and no one wants to test how deep it may be.

We'll see how it all pans out. I think we are discounting what we've gained over the decades and unfairly blaming capitalism as a whole. To me, the current rhetoric sounds a lot like "If exercise and eating right were so good, how come you have the flu?"
post #142 of 150
I believe that greed is simply a motivating force - whether for good or evil. The secret to harnessing its true power for good, rather than evil, is to remove any positive incentives for evil. Currently, the world has far more than the natural amount of evil in it - currently, evil is massively subsidised. The military industrial complex is a small (but obvious) example of how evil behaviour gets subsidised. In the free market, war is simply not profitable - this is why corporations nowadays require the government to pay for wars. A company like Halliburton could never afford to go to war in Iraq - but they can afford to spend a few hundred thousand dollars on a politician's election campaign, and the politician will make the taxpayers pay for both the war and Halliburton's fees. Naturally, companies would have to provide value to their customers to make money. When there's a government collecting taxes and pooling them in a massive treasury, that changes everything - corrupt businesses will line up with the sole purpose of extracting money from the treasury. Think of Enron, Halliburton, Fanny May, the entire banking system, Blackwater, most of the medical insurance system, and the Federal Reserve (which is a private corporation).
post #143 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraklinc View Post

It's true though, how are you going to download something else if your machine didn't come with a browser, but microsoft seriously needs to detach iE from windows cause dude that shit really is a bug magnet & having that thing embedded into the OS makes things even Worse, i mean why should people have iE in their machines if they don't want it.

I dislike Safari, don't want it on my Mac, but if I went and removed it, it would break the OS - how come Apple doesn't give me the option to remove a browser I don't want (w/o breaking the system)?

As far as the EU/MS, this is getting old, but the economy is in rough shape, so maybe the EU is looking to Microsoft to provide some money in another monopoly lawsuit, but last time I looked, FF had a marketshare of about 20%, so it's not like people don't know of alternatives anymore.
post #144 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Only if they are a monopoly in the first place. If said company has only 5% market share, they can't be done for "monopoly" anything.

I don't mean to mischaracterise your positions, so please let me know if I have got any of this wrong.

Are you advocating a principle where it is ok to target those who are successful, due to their competence, achievement and intelligence, for the benefit of those who lack these qualities? To hate the good for being the good? Don't get me wrong, i'm not talking about companies who are already in bed with the government - let them all be damned as far as I care - but what about the companies who are successful because of their real achievements and talent? Why should the good be punished, just for being good? Microsoft, however annoyingly, was a better company than apple at a crucial point in time, because they worked with other companies instead of being an island upon themselves. That's how they first got their market share in the PC market. Why should they be punished for sound judgement?

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Presumably only if they are pricing stuff at or below cost (in an attempt to drive competitors out of business).

Presumably? All of these charges (pricing above, below or equally) exist so that the government has an excuse drag your business into court, where you can spend millions of dollars and waste years in legal battles. It doesn't matter if they have a case against you or not - a court case can be enough to put a company out of business. There can be all sorts of reasons for an anti-trust case: a prosecutor who wants to make his career out of your high profile case, a department that wants more power, a competitor who uses his 'connections' to get you charged, maybe you didn't pay off the right people, an anti-business politician gets elected, and so on. Are we to assume no bad motives on the part of all of the people in government? They are just people.

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And the charge will only turn into conviction if there was actual collusion.

You can be put out of business even without a conviction, due to the legal costs, loss of stockholder confidence, loss of long term sales, deals and partnerships that can occur during a long legal battle.

It seems like you are assuming infallibility on behalf of the court. Just throwing charges at innocent people is dangerous because once in a while, the court will make a bad decision. Are you suggesting that the court system is honest, competent or reliable enough it's safe to just charge people, because "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about"?

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Sorry, I'm failing to see the problem here.

Firstly, I could make a strong case that there is nothing immoral about pricing above, below or the same as your competitors, regardless of how much market share you have. However, I would like to see where you are coming from. What is the moral basis for you to be against companies pricing their own products as they please? Do you apply these same principles in your relationships, in your personal life, or are they purely abstract and theoretical?
post #145 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

I don't mean to mischaracterise your positions, so please let me know if I have got any of this wrong.

Yes, you've got it all wrong.

For the billionth time: having a monopoly is not a problem. Legitimately obtaining a monopoly by being better than your competitors is not a problem.

Abusing your monopoly power in order to maintain said monopoly is a problem.

Abusing your monopoly power in order to decrease/eliminate competition in another market is a problem.

In the case of Microsoft, they obtained a monopoly in the OS market by being better at business than other folk. The fact that people saw Windows as a better value proposition than others OSes is unfortunate, but that's a separate debate. Microsoft built the Windows monopoly legitimately.

The problem comes when you've obtained a monopoly and then abuse that monopoly power. Once microsoft had their OS monopoly they could bully computer manufacturers to prevent legitimate competition in the OS market - hence the death of the BeOS - Be couldn't get their OS installed by any OEMs due to Microsoft's threat to revoke their Windows license if they offered any competing OSes.

Moving on to web browsers - web browsers and operating systems are two separate markets. Microsoft used their monopoly power in operating systems to seriously hamper legitimate competition in the web browser market. Pre-installing IE on Windows gives IE a huge competitive advantage over competitors. This advantage is not due to IE being superior, it is due to Windows being the dominant operating system.


Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Are you advocating a principle where it is ok to target those who are successful, due to their competence, achievement and intelligence, for the benefit of those who lack these qualities?

No, and I struggle to see how you possibly could have drawn this conclusion from any of the posts I've made thus far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Presumably? All of these charges (pricing above, below or equally) exist so that the government has an excuse drag your business into court, where you can spend millions of dollars and waste years in legal battles. It doesn't matter if they have a case against you or not - a court case can be enough to put a company out of business. There can be all sorts of reasons for an anti-trust case: a prosecutor who wants to make his career out of your high profile case, a department that wants more power, a competitor who uses his 'connections' to get you charged, maybe you didn't pay off the right people, an anti-business politician gets elected, and so on. Are we to assume no bad motives on the part of all of the people in government? They are just people.

Name me one time that any company has been taken to court by the government under false pretences for under-pricing their goods/services, and subsequently driven out of business. If you can do that maybe it'd be worth discussing this further.


Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

It seems like you are assuming infallibility on behalf of the court.

And you assume infallibillity of companies operating in a free market. Nothing is perfect, all organisations are liable to corruption. If you can get the corruption down to as low a level as possible, the system works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Just throwing charges at innocent people is dangerous because once in a while, the court will make a bad decision. Are you suggesting that the court system is honest, competent or reliable enough it's safe to just charge people, because "If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about"?

No, I'm suggesting that in the specific case of US or EU government taking a company to court under anti-trust rules, there are enough safegaurds in place that the likelihood of utterly baseless accusations reaching court is very low.


Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

What is the moral basis for you to be against companies pricing their own products as they please?

Pricing above the competition in and of itself is not a problem. However, it may be an indicator that the company in question is ripping off customers, and it is able to do this because it has a monopoly and is abusing said monopoly power in order to keep prices artificially high.

Pricing in line with the competition in and of itself is not a problem. However, it may be an indicator that several companies are colluding with one another in order to avoid competition and keep prices artificially high.

Pricing below the competition in and of itself is not a problem. However, it may be an indicator that the company in question is selling goods/services at or below cost in order to drive competitors out of business. They will then be free to increase prices once their competition has been eliminated. For example, this accusation has been levied at a Major Coffee Shop Brand - they open for example 10 new coffee shops in a small area, where there are, lets say, 3 independent coffee shops. "Major Coffee Shop Brand" operates their new shops at a loss, and the independent shops are unable to compete with this - in order to do so they'd have to reduce their prices to below cost. However, they are caught between a rock and a hard place - if they don't reduce their prices, customers will go to "Major Coffee Shop Brand". If they do reduce their prices, they will retain their customers but go out of business anyway because they are now selling stuff below cost. So, "Major Coffee Shop Brand" drives the 3 independent coffee shops out of business. Once this has happened, they close 8 of their new coffee shops. Perhaps you disagree, but I think that's an unfair way to do business.
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post #146 of 150
To see the true absurdity of all of this, we must come full circle, back to my original point: If voluntary, peaceful monopolies are somehow bad, then surely, compulsory, violent monopolies are worse! The voluntary monopolies have nothing more than marketing gimmicks - they can't force you to buy their products. If you have a problem with large organizations expanding their influence, then find some other way to fix the problem. Because, frankly, the governemnt is the largest organization on the planet, and expanding their influece at the expense of others is what they do best. To call for government intervention is an incredible contradiction because it requires you to ignore all of your arguments against monopolies in the first place! So in order to stop the problem of voluntary monopolies (which still have some competition), you want to create compulsory monopolies (with NO competition), and give them the power to start wars, jail people at will, tax half of your income, educate your children about how necessary they are, and regulate what you can do in your own home? Really? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS?!! Come on! People, really... we are smarter than this.
post #147 of 150
Couldn't find any examples of companies being falsely taken to court for under-pricing their goods, huh? You gave the impression it was happening all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

then surely, compulsory, violent monopolies are worse!

Yes, they are. They are called dictatorships.

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Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

To call for government intervention is incredible because it requires you to ignore all of your arguments against monopolies in the first place!

No it doesn't.

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Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

with the power to start wars, jail people at will, tax half of your income, educate your children about how wonderful it is, and regulate what you can do in your own home?

On the first two points - war and jailing people at will - yes, there are sometimes hideous miscarriages of justice (e.g. Gauntanamo Bay - oh, but hey look, a government is now working hard to undo that mistake). If there's too much corruption it all goes to shit. But arguably if there's too much corruption you aren't dealing with proper democracy any more. Most western democracies seem to have got corruption down and have mechanisms in place to try and ensure that wars and sending people to jail only happen for good reasons.

On tax - yes, they take half your money and absolutely nothing happens in return Sure, some governments do a better job than others but it's not like the money just disappears into some great big void.

Yeah, the only thing I was taught in school was how wonderful government is In fact, I don't recall having any lessons about the government, full stop.

Oh yeah, and regulating what people do in their own home - how evil! People should be free to murder, rape, falsely imprison, pollute, impregnate their close relatives, etc. etc. - I mean, if they're in their own home, they should be allowed to do whatever they want, right?
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post #148 of 150
Thank you, Mr H. I am done. You have provided me with closure. You are, of course, free to level any criticisms you wish - perhaps I am 'afraid to debate' because I 'have no proof', or something similar which would give you a feeling of victory. If this is what you are after, then I will let you feel it now - for free, without the effort that victories usually require. In exchange, I will escape endless discussions where no points get addressed, which would just consume both our time. A victory is of no value to me - but my time is. I have made all of the points I care to make on this issue. I am glad that I have been able to clarify my point of view. You may now have whatever it is you are after. Enjoy it, for whatever it is worth.

For those who are interested in the points I have raised, for the people who see some truth in what i have been saying, you might want to visit The Mises Institute and Free Domain Radio. Even Wikipedia has some value. Have fun.
post #149 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by use-reason View Post

Thank you, Mr H. I am done. You have provided me with closure. You are, of course, free to level any criticisms you wish - perhaps I am 'afraid to debate' because I 'have no proof', or something similar which would give you a feeling of victory. If this is what you are after, then I will let you feel it now - for free, without the effort that victories usually require. In exchange, I will escape endless discussions where no points get addressed, which would just consume both our time. A victory is of no value to me - but my time is. I have made all of the points I care to make on this issue. I am glad that I have been able to clarify my point of view. You may now have whatever it is you are after. Enjoy it, for whatever it is worth.

For those who are interested in the points I have raised, for the people who see some truth in what i have been saying, you might want to visit The Mises Institute and Free Domain Radio. Have fun.

Bye then. It is a shame that you should imply that I'm not addressing any of your points when in fact I've addressed all of them head on. I also don't really have time to debate this further so am happy to end it here. I claim no victory. We can call it a draw if you want. Or maybe you won. Or maybe it doesn't matter either way because this is a computer forum.

In terms of your leaving here altogether, yes, you can run away back to a place where everyone agrees with your point of view. Or you could head over to the PoliticalOutsider forum where you may find others with more time on their hands than me to debate this with you.
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post #150 of 150
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Originally Posted by MacTel View Post

The EU is trying to find a reason to fine Microsoft again. This is just nonsense. Did the Opera people launch another complaint with the EU?

With Firefox, Safari, and Chrome out there this is a non-issue. Microsoft is not monopolizing the browser anymore.

That's strange... when I first fired up Window 7 Ultimate Beta , I had no choice but to use IE 8 in order to download Firefox.... What do you call it then, if not monopolization? Average Joe User would not even know how to do such a thing, so yes, it is monopolization either way...

(And yes, you MUST use IE to update/patch all windows versions that I am aware of).

(IE 8 stinks by the way)
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