Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Novell the new Apple

It occurs to me there's another aspect of the very noisy MSFT-Novell deal. MSFT is paying Novell hundreds of millions of dollars, right?

The last time it (I'm gonna call that corporation it, not they, 'kay? A corporation isn't just a set of people, it's a system of people and other assets) paid a nominal competitor tons of money to do not very much the "competitor" was Apple. An eighth of a billion dollars to port MS-Word to Mac OS Classic. Then more to keep Internet Explorer going.

The reason MSFT did that is obvious. It was getting sued for being an illegal trade monopoly. It subsidized the only thing around that vaguely looked like a competitor, to keep it alive. Having something that looks like a competitor makes the argument that it's an illegal monopoly slightly less than completely obvious.

These days, Apple is mainly in the music business, but still sells (really nice) boutique computers to artists and students. MSFT is getting sued in the European Union for being an illegal trade monopoly. As far as general purpose computing is concerned, Apple can't be taken seriously as a competitor to MSFT. (Which is why it pulled the plug on Internet Explorer. It'll pull MS-Office as soon as it figures nobody will notice.) According to MSFT's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, "open source" is MSFT's competion now. MSFT is subsidizing the new nominal competitor.

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