[OT] Re: MS attacking government use of "open source"

Bob Drzyzgula bob at drzyzgula.org
Fri May 24 19:20:43 PDT 2002

On Fri, May 24, 2002 at 08:43:50PM -0400, Mark Hahn wrote:
> <heresy>
> it's not much of an exaggeration to say that the dissenting states
> are in effect asking to nationalize Windows.
> </heresy>

I think "nationalize" would imply the taking of the
company away from its owners. It would convert the company
from private (or public, in the sense of being publically
traded on a stock exchange) to government ownership. While
what the Non Settling States want to do is more drastic
than what the DOJ wants, it's not nationalization as I
understand it.

What they want to do is probably more akin to turning
Microsoft into a regulated monopoly, as opposed to the
unregulated monopoly that it is today. The US hasn't, to my
knowledge, had many regulated monopolies of national scope;
the primary exception that comes to mind being AT&T. Also,
I suppose, prior to the Reagan Administration, the airline
industry was sort of a regulated oligopoly (it still is
to a large extent, but not as completely as it was back
then). Most regulated monopolies tend to be local -- the
utilities carrying water & sewer, natural gas, electricity,
telephone and Cable TV to and from homes and business.

Under US antitrust law, as I understand it, the primary
alternative to regulating a monopoly is to restructure
it so as to turn it into something that is no longer a
monopoly. This is, for example, what they did to Standard
Oil and ultimately to AT&T, and is more along the lines
of what Jackson wanted to do by breaking Microsoft into
muliple entities.

Whatever, the regulated monopoly of national scope isn't
a model that's all that familiar to americans today.
But if the non-settling states ultimately prevail, it
could become a fact of life.


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