Success = Monopoly = Antitrust? Why the MS antitrust case is just wrong

I came across an interesting article which articulates much of my own thoughts on the entire Microsoft Internet Explorer antitrust saga. The article on a blog JCXP which I came across for the first time. The blog seems to be by MS fanboys supporters is calling for a boycott of Opera Soft, makers of the amazing Opera browser. The article, Opera Boycott: Clearing up a few things is actually a follow up article to the initial call for boycott.

I have some thoughts on the points presented in the second article but before that the disclaimer: I’m not a MS supporter or an Opera hater. In fact the two primary browsers on my laptop was Mozilla Firefox and Opera. I dislike IE (at least 6 and 7) primarily because of the headaches they have given me and the PITA they have been to the whole design and web-development industry. This article is not an evangelizing of IE or MS but broader thoughts on the anti trust calls when an organization starts to succeed and gains significant market share.

With that out of the way, I quote a part of the article:

"But it’s against antitrust laws!". Good to know. I’ll gladly admit I know very little about European antitrust laws (ie. barely anything). All I know, and this has been my stance since the very beginning, is that Microsoft has (or should have) every right to include their own Internet Explorer web browser as the only and default option in Windows. This applies to any and all companies on any matter, not just Microsoft. If Microsoft were to file an antitrust complaint agaisnt[sic] Apple for including Safari as the default browser in OS X, I would be just as peeved. Many have been saying that Microsoft has been taking advantage of its dominance of the market by bundling IE with Windows and that they are forcing it on customers. I do not see how that is true in any way. Nothing has changed in the last 15 years. Internet Explorer has been an integral and key feature of Windows ever since Windows 95, before Microsoft "dominated" the market. It’s not like Microsoft only recently started bundling IE with Windows, it has been there all along.

This is a view point I agree with whole heartedly. Why should an organization which has succeeded so wholly and entirely on their own suddenly be branded as cheaters? If this is the case, than is it not applicable for _all_ utilities being bundled with an OS, any OS (calculator, graphics program, image viewer etc). Isn’t Apple being anti-competitive by bundling Safari (and only Safari) with OSX? Or consider this – If Intel manufactured CPU cooling fans and they were bundled with the CPU, would they be behaving anti-competitively? Even though there are a zillion other brands and types of CPU cooling fans available for the buyer to choose

Let’s take another example: IPods are the most popular portable media players. They work primarily with ITunes which is what is bundled with those devices. Additionally, installing iTunes also forces a user to install QuickTime (a very bad media player and bloat ware IMO). Is that not forcing the consumer out of a choice?

Yes, there is Winamp, GTKPod and hundreds of other apps which can be used to manage the iPod and view the media files. But they are NOT bundled with the iPod. Why should they? Apple should and is free to bundle what they want with THEIR product. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. And if you still buy it, don’t install it (ITunes that is. QuickTime unfortunately is SHOVED down everyone’s throats by ITunes. Ugh)In the same vein, there are lots of other browsers available on the Internet, most of them definitely better than IE. But that does not mean that MS should start bundling everyone of those with it’s OS. You don’t like the components, then either don’t buy Windows (there is always Linux) or don’t use the browser.

I am not saying that MS is all holy. If they use their influence to force computer makers to install their software or to pressurizing them against installing competitors software then they should be taken to task. That would be an abuse of monopoly, NOT including their own software in their own product.

My Thoughts on Opera Unite

Coming a bit late but I wanted to jot down my thoughts on Opera Unite. My first thought, it is an awesome concept with the potential to change the way the Internet is used and also a huge boon for the us users, but in a different manner than envisaged by the Unite team. But I also feel it is a bit lacking as I will explain below.

Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store – A short story

Read a trippy short story recently – Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store. It is a short science fiction-fantasy about, hmm, Books :D

The story is written in a nice easy style at a good pace. It features takes on the recession, layoffs, google and other topics with a hint of geek romance thrown in..

The story is pretty nice story but I disliked the evangelizing of Google. Except for the part extolling Google, the story was good and different.

Tempus Fugit

Oh yes it does.. It was just sometime ago that I was going through the whole application process. And now it seems to be that time again.

Work had been hectic the past few weeks. Completed a major task at work so things are better now and seem to be slowing down now.

Got a new MP3 player, a SanDisk Sansa Fuze. It’s flash based and really cool. My colleague thinks it is very cute (yes she is a girl ;) )

I’ll soon be joining a short course called Social Entrepreneurship Outreach Program (SEOP) by a group known as Center for Social Initiatives and Management (CSIM).

Oh and I’ve been reading quite a few books as usual. Quick list of books I’ve read recently:

Oh and I think there were a few more but I don’t remember. I’m sure you can imagine why ;)
These are in the past 4-5 months (except the Watchmen Graphic novel)
More later.. Hopefully..

Change in Hosting

Moved my domain from Dreamhost to Hawkhost. Will be some downtime while the DNS propagation goes through.

Dreamhost had been giving me problems with email, most commonly with Webmail. Also the site faced a fair amount of downtime. Hence the switch. Let’s see how’s Hawkhost

2009 Formula 1 season

The new season of the fastest sport in the world starts today in Australia. The usual teams are there but the surprise package is a new team, Brawn GP which replaced Honda from last year.

A lot of rules have changed, some for the better (Slicks, improved aerodynamics) and others for the worse (fugly rear wing, higher nose cone etc). That said, as the first race just starting, it looks to be a very promising season..

This and That – Relatively speaking

So I’ve been busy. Old news what!

Past few weeks have run away like seconds.

Two trips – Jaipur for a wedding and Pondicherry for a holiday. More trips likely this year with one definite. Want to try and go to Goa at least once this year. Could not go last year which sort of broke my promise to myself to go there at least once a year.

Work has been hectic and killing. But is sort of fun because I am in charge. BM coding has slowed down too slightly since folks at home so am always with them. This sucks because I have a lot of stuff I want to do but do not have the time to

No time for photography. Reading has slowed down too. Sleep seems to always hover around me but not for enough time.

Time seems to be flying away. Apparently relativity is hot around me but without the pretty girl.

Found this lovely video of a addictive song and an beautiful voice. Have listened to it at least 15-20 times in the past 2 days. I think it was a very good discovery. Nice songs on the singer’s (Emily Wells) myspace page too. I think I really like her voice and her unique style of singing. Will keep track of her.

(Direct link to the video if the above embed does not work correctly)

Birthday was celebrated in the trip to Jaipur. Turned out to be a fabulous day capped off by an awesome party; not due to my birthday but the bachelor’s party of the groom whose wedding I was attending there. His wife is lovely. They are staying with us for this month so yay..

Slumdog Millionaire and India

Quick last post before my hard disc is formatted and before I leave for my trip!

As most of the movie going world knows by now, Slumdog Millionaire has won 8 oscars. That’s right, EIGHT. That is quite an achievement.

For those living under a rock, it is about a poor Indian teen who lived all his life in a slum winning the “Who Want’s to be a millionaire” equivalent show and hence winning a million rupees.

So the movies is related quite a bit to India. Okay, it is entirely in India. However, the director and most of the crew of the movie is not Indian; the actors all are.

Among the eight oscars, 3 were won by Indians – AR Rahman, Gulzar (Shared wiuth Rahman) and Resul Pookutty. They won for Original Score, Original Song and Sound mixing respectively. However, none of the actors were nominated for any of the awards and so obviously, none won. The director was not Indian, the movie itself is classified as British. So how is this a win for India as it is being claimed by all most news channels?

I have nothing against the winners from India. But that does make it a win for India. An Indian win would be for a movie directed by an Indian (No, M. Night Shyamalan does not count or any of the other NRI or directors of Indian origin. Shekhar Kapoor does though :P ) or made by an Indian company.

Please folks, cut out the hype. It is NOT an Indian movie, it is not a win for India.