Wednesday, June 30, 2004


It’s pointless to get too deeply into the U.S. Court of Appeals decision today against Massachusetts and in favor of Microsoft. The battle is lost and the war may be over, and I’m a little late to add anything unique anyway.

The problem with Microsoft, of course, is that it controls more than 90 percent of the computers on the planet, and probably some of the computers elsewhere. That sounds suspiciously close to monopoly, the existence of which runs contrary to common sense and U.S. policy. For anyone who’s heard the cliche about not putting all your eggs in one basket, our reliance on Microsoft is kind of like putting more than 90 percent of eggs worldwide in the same basket -- except that the basket is made of crepe paper and already has many, many rips and tears.

Massachusetts’ allies against Microsoft have dropped away, some of them bought off. I see now that West Virginia has joined the sellouts, trading its anti-monopoly efforts for $20 million in vouchers for Microsoft computers and software.

So the penalty for being a monopoly is giving away $20 million more of your own products? Flooding the market further with the stuff that has already made competition difficult in the extreme?

As punishments go, it’s like getting punched by someone disgusted that you’re a masochist.

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