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Microsoft Shows Tech 'Monopolies' Don't Last
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anon6635912771
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anon6635912771,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/18/2014 | 1:46:42 PM
AMD
==-

>AMD might have given Intel a run for its money in the desktop market during the early 64bit dual core era


It still does, if money has value to you. Intel is only the right choice if you MUST have the highest horsepower processor at any cost. Other than that, the only reason an IT manager would choose Intel (partcularly for workstations) is if he doesn't care that he's spending someone else's money and he's dumb ("Well, no one ever got fired for buying Intel").

Sadly, the fact that Intel is as evil as Microsoft has no relevance in business decisions.

-faye kane ♀ girl brain
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 1:37:46 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I think it's hard to separate antitrust enforcement from that happened to Microsoft. Technology changed but Microsoft's ability and preparedness to react to that change was weighed down by antitrust compliance burdens. If you go back to the judge's finding of facts (http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm), it's clear there's more to the case than Netscape Navigator. Microsoft was also trying to kill Java. Had Microsoft been left to do as it wished, the technology world would be very different today.

Some consequences of the ruling: Microsoft was not allowed to acquire Intuit; Microsoft propped  Apple up by investing in the company when it was almost broke and by not withholding Office (which it could have done without trustbuster attention); browsers became a special class of protected software; open-source got an interface (the Web).

VInt Cerf argues that even though Microsoft was not broken up, open source saved competition and innovation. As I see it, open source, the Web, and Java are intertwined. Open source mattered to companies as a way to be free of platform-locking and vendor meddling. But it began mattering to consumers when it became the free interface for the Web.

Much of Microsoft's troubles have to do with it still relying on the same revenue sources now as it did two decades ago. It got too complacent. But competitors would have had a harder time without the leg up provided by government oversight. For example, when Google was offering desktop search software, Microsoft tried to hobble it. Google complained to the government and got Microsoft to back down. That might not have happened as easily if Microsoft had not been an acknowledged abuser of monopoly power.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 1:09:06 PM
Re: staying ahead
I agree with Steve, there was a period of time where MS played the Oracle game, long before Oracle used it to get where they are now.

Anything that had any (MS) perceived potential got bought out. Any patents/technology from it they thought would add to their existing products they used, but the "brand" of the startup was gone. Whether that caused the internal stagnation of innovation or was a symptom of it, I'll leave you to decide.

But this whole tablet/smartphone thing, who could really see that coming? If you would have told me back then people would willingly shell out $50 a month on data plans for these tiny screens, I'd have thought you were crazy. Shows what I know about people.

Apple had very little to lose when they entered this market, their Mac's were a niche and still are. Google/Android had very little to lose, they could also take risks you could see a mature, profitable company like MS saying "Ummm, no" to. Also keep in mind MS was very preoccupied with Xbox and Zune (iPod competition) during the period leading up to tablet/smartphone explosion. In phones, they were aiming at Blackberry back then, which seems humorous now.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
7/18/2014 | 12:56:54 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I feel like the reasons for Microsoft's undoing (rise of smartphones and tablets, decline in PC sales, SaaS) started to happen seven or eight years after the 2000 anti-trust ruling. So it's hard to blame anti-trust on Microsoft losing its way in the mobile era, unless perhaps the anti-trust battles made Microsoft weary and tentative to go after new markets. But I don't buy that argument. I think it was just poor leadership and lack of foresight by Ballmer, who was allowed to run the show for too long.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
7/18/2014 | 12:37:19 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I'd maybe even put it a bit more strongly. While I'm sure *eventually* Microsoft would have been taken down by someone.... I'd say that had the government not stepped in and at least tripped up Microsoft's plans and actions, it's hard to say where we'd be right now. Microsoft was dominating by preventing industry innovation. They might have not been able to keep everyone else down forever, but they were doing a pretty good job of it.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
7/18/2014 | 12:32:19 PM
Re: staying ahead
The problem was that was just a bunch of baloney. Microsoft wasn't staying ahead of any curve. They were using all sorts of tactics to hamper innovation and retain their position. He probably really meant the financial curve.
stevew928
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stevew928,
User Rank: Strategist
7/18/2014 | 12:28:38 PM
Re: Absolutely nothing?
I seem to remember being fairly disappointed with the government's actions, considering all the damage Microsoft did to the industry. But, what I think it did accompllish, was to slow down Microsoft's blatant efforts to hold their monopoly by any means. So, while the anti-trust penalty was merely a slap on the wrist, without their continued efforts to thwart any competition, they lost the ace up their sleeve. Normal innovation in the industry killed the giant that had little innivation.

But, I'm still left scratching my head a bit over the whole investor thing. What did investors have to do with it? If anything, they *reacted* insanely late, maybe helping nail the coffin.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:53:47 AM
today's market
the free market has a way of sorting things out -- faster than ever in this day and age

Yes, I can see that. With tech companies coming and going so quickly, the order of things gets figured out very quickly these days.
soozyg
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soozyg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:46:08 AM
staying ahead
Microsoft's announcement Thursday that it's cutting 18,000 jobsfrom its payroll,

I remember years back, about 5 years into Bill Gates's rise, there was all kinds of commenting and articles about how he seemed to be swallowing up everyone and everything around him. All the technology, all the companies, all the personel. When asked why he was doing business in hyper-speed, even after he was a billionaire, he responded with something like "I always have to stay ahead of the curve." Oh well.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
7/18/2014 | 11:13:50 AM
Chip makers
I've enjoyed watching the large chip makers become supplanted in recent years. While AMD might have given Intel a run for its money in the desktop market during the early 64bit dual core era, the latter has always maintained its performance crown. However in recent years, with the growth in mobile and smaller form factor computing, Intel seems lost in comparison.

AMD has the notebook market tied up, ARM, Qualcomm and others have bigger stakes in the mobile market. 

And Intel wants to reinvent the desktop to somehow bring people back. It's interesting stuff. Perhaps its own anti-trust fines have prevented it from domineering as it once did. 
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