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Re: What do we mean when we say "competition?"

  • From: David Barak
  • Date: Thu Nov 17 00:26:46 2005
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--- Owen DeLong <[email protected]> wrote:

> > Windows 98 price (in 1997) -> $209
> > Office 97 Standard (in 1997) -> $689 
> > Windows XP price (now) -> $199.
> > Office 2003 (now) -> $399.
> > 
> > Want to try that again?
> > 
> Yes... Here's some more accurate data:
> Windows 3.1 price $49
> Windows 3.1.1 price $99
> Windows 95 (Personal) price $59
> Windows 98 (Personal) price $99
> Windows ME (Home) price $99
> Windows NT WS price $99
> Windows 2000 Pro price $299
> Windows XP Pro Price $399
> If you're going to use list prices, use list prices
> all the way through.
> The above represent, to the best of my knowledge, M$
> retail pricing for
> the lowest level of their "client" version of their
> OS available at
> the time.

You're mistaken.

So it goes from 209 to either 199 or 299 depending on
whether you want "home" or "pro."  That's hardly an
egregious markup for a better OS, several years later.

> I confess I haven't followed pricing on M$ Office,
> but, I'm willing to
> bet that an apples-to-apples comparison would reveal
> similar results.

I was doing a similar apples-to-apples comparison. 
Look, just accept that not all data points will line
up with your assertions - find some others instead. 
If there are so many, then there have to be better
examples than these.

> Finally, the price of the client software is
> actually not the primary
> problem with M$ monopolistic pricing.  It is the
> back-end software
> where they really are raising the prices.  Compare
> NT Server to
> 2K or XP Server or Advanced Server.  XP AS is nearly
> double 2000 AS
> last time I looked.

Microsoft hardly has a monopoly on servers.  If their
prices are too high, use something else.

> > The argument regarding ILECs is reversed.  I
> > appreciate the citation of Standard Oil, but it is
> a
> > fallacy to think that there is a one-to-one
> mapping
> > between SO and any/all of the ILECs.  
> > 
> True.  What is the point?

Standard Oil is a strawman argument.  The ILECs are
dissimilar in nature and behavior from Standard Oil. 
An assertion otherwise requires evidence.

> > Assertions that "monopolies do X and they're bad,
> and
> > we know that Y will eventually do bad because
> they're
> > a monopoly" are circular.
> > 
> Statements like "In the past, monopolies have done
> X, and, the
> results of X are bad.  Since Y is a monopoly, we can
> expect them to do
> X as well, with similar negative results." are not
> circular.  They
> are attempting to learn from history rather than
> repeat it.

"History doesn't repeat itself.  Historians do."
-unknown (to me at least)

Don't fight the last war, and especially don't fight
it in a way which will impede future innovation.

> Since the market is risky to deploy LMI once, you
> will have a hard
> time that the market exists to pay for multiple
> copies of a given
> LMI in order to support competition.

If there's money in it, then someone will fill the

I still haven't seen the justification for treating
layer-1 last mile differently from layer-2 last-mile,
or for that matter layer-3 last mile.  Why shouldn't
the city just say "everyone hop on our citywide IP
network, and then everyone can compete at higher
layers of the stack?"

David Barak
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