Free ride? I'll say

Started May 4, 2002 | Discussions thread
Tom May Senior Member • Posts: 1,676
Re: Enjoy the ride

Bob,

But for IBM's choice of MS, there might have been another company in Microsoft's position. Who knows who. But it would have ultimately settled out the same way. It wasn't about whom was better than whom. It was just about standardization, and that had more to do with third party BIOS than MS. When IBM allowed clones, they initialized this process. MS was just the one in the passenger seat. Dumb luck? Arrogance or indifference by Digital Research? Who knows.

The point is that some entity would have come along and filled the same need. That entity just happened to be MS. It certainly could have been any number of others, but these fell aside, for a number of reasons, least of these being technical. That's what competition is all about.

Fortunately, excellent alternatives still exist, otherwise, we would surely be at the whim of MS, and probably using MS-DOS 11 or something with a GUI tacked on.

Oh, and BTW, USB was certainly in the doldrums until the advent of Apple's iMac. Unlike the legacy ports on the PC, iMac users were forced to purchase USB peripherals. Harse, true. This drove demand, and produced enough of a growth to entice manufacturers to develop and produce a wide variety of products. Similarly, the lack of a floppy drive drove offboard peripheral demand and with the later launch of Firewire, led to the Digital video revolution.

Would these or similar technologies have been popularized by MS? Certainly, but probably years later without the competition.

Whatever your beliefs, MS has been determined to be a monopoly, and did use its monopoly powers to stifle competition. That is a fact. How they are to be constrained from this behavior is still being debated. I would hope that the settlement allows innovative companies to enter into markets dominated by MS. This can only be a good thing.

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