"Has been a lifesaver so many times!"
- Catherine Rampell, student @ University of Washington
"Exactly the help I needed."
- Jennifer Hawes, student @ San Jose State
"The best place for brainstorming ideas."
- Michael Majchrowicz, student @ University of Kentucky
I feel this example shows supply and demand in addition to monopolistic
competition. This entire ordeal is over a free browser that Microsoft includes
with windows for free and gives out on the Internet for free just as Netscape
and most other browser companies do.
The government feels that Microsoft is creating a demand purely for their
products by forcing its browser on suppliers and controlling prices. I have yet
to see where Microsoft is charging extraordinary prices for any of these free
programs nor do I see how Netscape, in using the governments definition, a
"monopoly" itself, is "being forced out of business" by
Microsoft’s free browser.
Remember: the charge is against including Internet Explorer with Windows, not
the Windows monopoly itself. It is much better to have one operating system than
20 or even two. Software compatibility, technical support, and setup are much
more simplified with one operating system. Programs today are specifically
designed to be "Windows compatible." Would you rather have 20 (local)
phone companies, each with a different line and number running into your house
or one, as is the case now?
Internet Explorer brings browser competition to a market that is essentially
monopolistic itself. Internet Explorer gives Netscape a competitive product
where before virtually none existed. The purpose of antitrust laws is to prevent
only harmful monopoly. Microsoft’s operating system near monopoly is harmful
in very few ways. Nor is Intel\'s chip near monopoly harmful, nor is Netscape’s
browser near monopoly.
Other reasons easily explain how Microsoft came about to its size and how new
companies constantly spring up in the computer industry. Computer software is a
very volatile industry. To succeed in this industry all you basically need is a
good program and a way to offer it for sale. All they have to do is make a
program and copy it on a disk. Since making an extra disk containing the program
costs all of 2 cents, it is more costly for the software company to print the
box and manuals, than it is to make one extra disk. But it does cost Microsoft
to develop a new program. No matter how cheap a disk is, capital investment such
as salaries, factories, storage, and programmers always exist.
Even though development costs are sunk and additional production costs are
nonexistent, other costs are incurred. Besides, supply and demand determines
where a price will fall. Another thing about the computer market is its
ever-changing program market. For all we know, anyone literate in programming
may develop a better program than Windows.
If consumers like it, we may soon find another browser monopolist. For
reasons similar to this, computer industry leaders have vastly changed in just a
few years. At times Apple, IBM, Intel, Netscape, AT&T and even Commodore,
have or had large, sometimes monopolist-like markets.
Characteristics of monopolies that cause trouble are:
(1) Restriction of output.
(2) Higher prices along with this restriction.
(3) Restriction of entry to a particular market and, in a few cases.
(4) Lack of innovation due to lack of competition.
Not a single one of these problems is experience with Microsoft. These
problems are only drastic when an item is in a secluded market with no close
substitutes. Computers are definitely not necessities and there are few barriers
to entry in the computer market (the only noticeable being computer literacy).
Microsoft certainly does not restrict output and hold prices at extreme
levels. If they did, nobody would buy Windows 95 or 98 when it came out. There
is no reason to buy an upgrade except that people are looking for something new
or something bigger and better. New versions of Windows do not sell because
consumers aren’t forced to buy them. They sell because consumers want them.
Many of Microsoft’s major products are included with Windows. Giving products
away at no monetary cost is certainly not restricting output?
Netscape had an almost full monopoly (90%) and still has a semi-monopoly at
65-70% of the browser market. So what they are worried about?
They use the same methods of distribution of their software by offering it
for free and having Internet providers include it with their registration
software. Before Internet Explorer came along, we sat for long periods waiting
for browser upgrades. There was essentially one browser - Netscape. Upgrades
have been almost constant since the introduction of Explorer.
The result: two companies with advanced browsers competing to build a better
browser. Microsoft is not the only operating system to choose from. While very
practical and well suited for the current computer industry, Windows is not
alone. Many other operating systems, some even free, are available.
There are around nine in the
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AOL, Netscape, Internet suites, Microsoft, Web browser, Internet Explorer, Windows 10, Windows XP, Monopoly, Windows 95, Netscape Navigator, United States v. Microsoft Corp.
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