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Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch

From: T . Max Devlin
Subject: Re: Gates Patents Flipping a Light Switch
Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 18:26:28 -0400

On Thu, 13 May 2004 14:13:17 +0000 (UTC), (Martha H
Adams) wrote:

>I think the tone of the above thread respresents a serious distraction
>from what is actually happening here.  Maybe Microsoft and the Patent
>Office are doing things that look silly.  But!  These things are being
>done by very able people who look very far forward.  Somewhere in
>there is a policy and a strategy, and those very able people think
>*it's going to work.*

Yes, so?  We're talking about what it is, not whether it might work.

>So I think a *much* better slant to this thread would be, what are
>they working toward and how do they expect to achieve it?

They (excuse me, I must correct myself, he) is working towards the
only way he knows how to make money; monopoly.  How he expects to
achieve should be obvious; by embedding local control systems based on
his patent into Windows and using Microsoft's monopoly power to
prevent alternatives from being developed, just as he used his DOS
monopoly to prevent competing PC OSes from being developed.

>For my part, I think I see in current news, an expectation the coming
>November elections aren't going to make a practical difference to
>Microsoft and their 3-letter friends in Washington, whoever moves in
>or out.  Like a metasizing cancer, Microsoft philosophy and money has
>reached too deep, too far: the cure could prove to be not mere
>correction but rather, collapse and reconstruction.  Of our society,
>of our economy, of our culture.

I know where you're coming from.

But you know, I don't think Bill Gates is evil.  Yes, he's broken the
law, but it is the least violent violation imaginable.  I'm sure he is
himself convinced that he's done nothing but successfully develop PC
OSes, not necessarily unaware that he hasn't done it by competing but
by monopolizing, but not believing that's a real argument against his
goodness.  He's claimed he does not plan to will his money to his
children, the foundation he's already created might be doing great
work for centuries.  He knows how to take advantage of property rights
to control a market, if it is important enough.  Define it as vaguely
as you can, but hold on to that essential component that makes market
power become monopoly power; the ability to control how much benefit
your customers can gain by controlling how your product is sold to
them.  It is taking advantage of his insight, to him, not violating
section two of the Sherman Act.

>I don't like that picture.  The alternative is early light into what
>is going on.  Find it out and hold it up to public view.

Nobody will care.  And worse yet, nobody will be able to do anything
aobut it.  It takes a government to stop monopolization.  The public,
the free market, is helpless.  Agents in a market /must/ look after
their own self-interest, not some greater good.

> I believe
>the knowhow, perspective and brainpower are here in cyberspace to do

Been there, done that, it's called Linux.

>  And while I generally agree with what's up this thread, I think
>it's really not relevant much at all.  It's a distraction.
>Cheers, sort of.  -- Martha Adams

I agree.  Sort of.

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