Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

MS Monoplism and Hardware OEM's

Author:Erik Neu
Posted:11/15/1999; 11:25:50 AM
Topic:MS Monoplism and Hardware OEM's
Msg #:13060
Prev/Next:13059 / 13061

In the Nov 8 DaveNet, Dave W. suggested that Microsoft's control over hardware OEM's was a subject deserving of more inquiry; excerpt of interest is shown below.

The PBS version of Robert X. Cringely provides an analysis of the opinion which sounds to me like maybe it does provide some illumination on this point.


(EXCERPTED FROM 11/08/1999 DAVENET) In response to Saturday's DaveNet, a writer asked if Microsoft's power was of any concern to me at all. The answer is yes, but I limited my comments on Saturday to issues that the Jackson finding focused on. For some unknown reason the government hasn't pressed Microsoft and the hardware OEMs to open the terms of their license agreements.

I wrote about this in May 1998:

"I want to know to what extent Microsoft controls the personal computer distribution system. Are Compaq, Dell, IBM, et al franchisees or are they truly independent? Under what conditions can Microsoft take their licenses away? At will? A violation of the terms of the distribution agreement? And what do the agreements look like? Are they confidential? If so, why?"

If on examination, it turned out that Microsoft totally controls the hardware OEMs that's another story. We should not permit one company to limit choice and competition that way. There's something deeply immoral about a company that *wants* that kind of control.

But that's not the case the government presented. Why?

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