Subject: Re: CNET: The coming open monopoly in software
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 11:46:03 -0700
Thu, 25 Oct 2001 11:46:03 -0700
on Thu, Oct 25, 2001 at 09:35:12AM -0700, Zimran Ahmed (zimran wrote:
> --- "Stephen J. Turnbull" <> wrote:
> fair enough. you make many good pts.
> > Au contraire.  AIX wouldn't exist if IBM, at least at some earlier
> > point in its history, didn't think that proprietary software bolstered
> > its hardware.  They also got their butts burned bad
> true. but once upon a time even before that IBM was giving away a free
> OS just to sell its hardware.

Not since the 1960s.  That DoJ settlement spawned the Seven Dwarves:
box builders who produced hardware compatible with the s360 OS.


> > I don't really disagree about untrue.  However, Fisher et al thought
> > the notion of installed base as barrier to entry sufficiently
> > important to devote dozens of pages to debunking it.
> I haven't read this (maybe I should) but Microsoft certainly sees their
> old, installed software base as their biggest competitor. getting people
> to upgrade is job #1 now that XP is out.

However, upgrade from MSFT(n-1) to MSFT(n) is a shallower curve than
!MSFT to MSFT.  To this extent, marketshare is powerful.  It also speaks
to controlling standards, interoperability, training costs, and other
aspects, all thoroughly covered in the literature.

> > So?  This is still not a threat if the  normal  price for OSS is
> true. i was just pointing out that MSFT plays at the "set cost at zero"
> game quite happily when it suits them. And once something costs zero the
> only thing left to compete on is convenience. That's why a bundled
> (free) I.E. beat an unbundled (free) Navigator. 

Ability to negotiate deals is far more significant.  Pitching MSIE to
AOL did more to close and reverse the browser gap than did bundling IE
with legacy MS Windows -- that's 40% of the online market captured in
one fell swoop.  AOL's aquisition of Netscape speaks more to maintaining
a lever over MSFT than it does to the possibility of seeing Mozilla
surpass MSIE.


Karsten M. Self <>
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