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Choice is never bad

This is pretty much how I feel about what Microsoft's done to the computer software industry. Unfortunately, the site for which Julian writes pretty much takes Microsoft at their word and buys the "statists envious of successful corporation" version of the story.

It's even remarkably timely.

So please imagine a world in which:

  • Meaningful commercial operating system competition existed, thus pushing Windows to actually satisfy customer needs rather than those of its business partners'. IE, what we had from the 80s through the early 90s.
  • Non-trivial commercial office suite competition existed, meaning that Word, Excel, and the lot would have to be GOOD, not just good enough.
  • Commercial browser competition had existed for the last 5 years, meaning IE wouldn't have been able to take half a decade off after Netscape died.

And, no, open source can't save us, with the trivial exception of browsers (which just aren't all that complicated compared to the other things above). I've been using linux, on server and desktop, at my last three jobs. I even prefer it for work. That doesn't make it a competitor serious enough to do much good, even though Microsoft has to say it does so they look good for the media. (In 2005, I couldn't get sound working on a friggin' mass-market HP-Compaq box running Red Hat Linux (and later, same problem with Debian) - and I was far from the only one).

The third-grade libertarians out there replied at the time: "the market will save us" - pointing to the transition to the internet, which would supposedly make operating system monopolies a non-issue. Problem is - Microsoft knew that was a threat and fairly effectively (and obnoxiously) killed it.

This entry was posted in the following categories: Economics , Politics (Outside Austin) , Technology