Friends who I would hope knew better
Oct 24, 2005
3:00 AM EDT
|"a lack of motivation and/or interest exists to protect us from Microsoft's monopolistic grip"
I have friends who I know are intelligent that say things like "Sometimes I wish MS had just been left alone to use their full power to see just how far they would have taken technology leveraging their monopoly"
It boggles my mind when they say this because it overlooks the simple fact that the actions are not driven by trying to make things as good as they can but by trying to make as much profit as possible. I don't feel it is hard to poke major holes in the claims that MS have moved tech forwards massively, my simplest argument is just look at Linux vs Windows development. How many full timers and part timers develop Linux to be a competitor to Windows compared to the thousands of full time developers they have had working on it for more than 20 years.
To be balanced I do also know some developers who have worked for MS. They seem to think real efforts to move technology forwards are made. So maybe I am witness to the conflict of profit versus technological progress and also that technological advancement for its own end does little to benefit society widely until something latches and becomes pervasive. Like the internet, like Free Software, like possibly VOIP; basically there are too many ideas to use them all before a better idea comes along.
Oct 24, 2005
4:10 AM EDT
|The problem is that monopolists do what's best for them.
It's not good or evil. We all tend to do what's good for us.
Problem is, what's good for a monopolist is to maintain continuity and to grow the market. Growing the market is a spur to innovation to the extent that it encourages new offerings, but maintaining continuity pushes the other way.
The monopolist prefers order and control. Processes that can work throughout the monopoly, re-use of parts, products, ideas, people.
IBM suffered mightily after PCs graduated to the 80386 because, for the first time, PCs could compete with some IBM mini-computer offerings. Rather than embrace the new possibilities, IBM tried to preserve its mini-computers. Disaster ensued.
Innovation comes from people with a strong incentive to innovate. Having to beat the other guy to make your living is a pretty strong incentive. Maintaining order isn't.
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