RE: "Open XML" et al... Blech... Re: Microsoft buy
> > I'm unsure about a 'natural tendency' to converge on a single > software product, but individuals are often constrained by IT > policies. Ken, Everything you say about the history of how MS Office came to beat its competitors is true, and it's an excellent analysis. But in other markets you can be the dominant player with 30% of the market; with software products such as Windows and Office, once you're in the lead or perceived as being in the lead, there's a tendency for that 30% to become 90% because even the people who prefer a different product find that it's easier to follow the crowd rather than following their own preferences - and that's all to do with interoperability of documents and transferability of skills. It's true that the choice is sometimes at the corporate level and sometimes at the personal level, but it amounts to the same thing: for every person who chose MS Office because they liked it, there are four or five who use it because it's easiest to use the same as everyone else. That's what's makes it a natural monopoly, almost like public water supply. And in other areas where there are natural monopolies, we don't allow the owner of that monopoly to set arbitrary prices and make $40bn profits on $50bn of turnover. Of course free enterprise is a good thing and governments shouldn't interfere. But if governments didn't interfere then there wouldn't be any copyright legislation and MS wouldn't be making any profit at all. MS are wealthy because we, as citizens, have elected governments who have given MS a license to print money. I'm not saying MS didn't make some good decisions that led to them winning the jackpot - but the jackpot shouldn't be there to win. Michael Kay http://www.saxonica.com/
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