Microsoft Monopoly Essay, Research Paper
Roll the dice and watch the hat bounce from one space to another, as the player assists the hat with the inevitable completion of it s ultimate voyage. The voyage of owning all of the properties, funds, real-estate, and strategically putting all the other players into bankruptcy to finish this challenge of becoming the winner, or monopolist. Bill Gates of the Microsoft Corporation has played this game, and he has played it well. The inevitable government intervention, that our modified market economy creates, just like victims before the current Microsoft Corp. s monopoly, such as Standard Oil, or AT&T both of which were proven to be a monopoly under the Anti-Trust Act, and action was to taken to remedy the situation so the monopolistic structure of these companies would not continue for consumer benefit. In these two cases the pre-determined verdicts were correct from the beginning of the trial. Both companies were true monopolies and unfair, to the consumer, tactics were being invoked in a system were competition was not a member of the dictionary. Microsoft, however, has not committed any felonious acts against the consumer. If a consumer was not happy then why would the consumer go back and buy the latest versions of the Microsoft product line. A company cannot be a monopoly when there is competition, or worthy enough competition. The various versions of the Windows operating system were created for ease of us for the user, and minimizing the amount of complicated tasks so just about anyone could use a computer. Since no other company could generate a worthy enough product to compete with Microsoft s products in the personal computer market, Microsoft was proclaimed to be a monopoly just because of this lack of competition. A company designed to assist the consumer, making his or her tasks easier and at a fair price for the product that they receive, and now just because of the lack of worthy competition this great company must be torn apart from the inner seams and reorganized in some discombobulated manner.
The success of a company is all about market strategy. Gates was a god of market strategizing. Back in the days when their were no Windows operating systems Gates put out MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) to make an easier environment for harnessing all the processing power a computer had available. With good advertising and a few deals with computer makers MS-DOS was a big success selling thousands of copies. From then on Microsoft was on its way up the ladder and their was no stopping this steam engine from chugging along at its fast pace of beating the competition and generating the money. To the small start-up company creating software for the consumer, they always have someone to fear, Bill Gates is their foe from the time their company starts till the demise of their company when they cannot compete at all from then on (Dickinson 106).
Microsoft has entered many markets and in each has dominated in all its glory proving Microsoft cannot be stopped. The database market was owned by Borland Inc. s MS-DOS version of Paradox, a database program for creating databases, Gates then stepped in with his long awaited version of Microsoft Access for Windows (a key term here is long awaited meaning consumers wanted this product) and shamed the competition, being Borland, once their product became the industry standard and leader Gates could not be stopped. He then offered Access for a cheaper introductory price and also introduced a new version of Visual Fox Pro, another database program of a recently acquired company, that ran on Windows, and unlike Borland s Paradox which ran on DOS this just meant they could not compete with the user friendly windows versions (Dickinson 106). This success was just a product of good marketing strategies and timing. The same thing occurred with Lotus 1-2-3, a spreadsheet program, was soon rivaled by Microsoft Excel which was of course for Windows unlike 1-2-3 and it had a GUI (Graphical User Interface) which was much more superior to the DOS based 1-2-3 where everything was a character-based program, where you type everything in, even the commands to run the program that must to typed in to set-up and use the spreadsheets (Morissey 210). The same exact thing occurred in the word processing market when Microsoft beat WordPerfect with its Microsoft Word. A consumer would not want something that was not easy to use. Of course, the consumer would purchase Excel or Access for the ease of use factor and superiority that was either physically there or mentally there (Goetz 103). It really does not matter as long as the consumer is the consumer and buys the products. Should Microsoft be punished for competing with these companies and promoting advancement in creating standards? Bill provided newer and far superior ideas to add to these various markets by setting even higher standards. Without Microsoft s intervention, the process of making these products better might have taken forever. In the end the situation is better for the consumer, you would not expect a consumer to purchase a program that is not as good as another one, and it is proven that it is not as good. These are the things that made Microsoft a monopoly.
The Windows Operating system has been claimed one of the most user-friendly operating systems in the personal computer market, if you do not include Apple s operating system. The operating system market is what separated Microsoft from the small company they were to the big company that it has grown to become. Unlike a monopoly which raises prices and innovation usually declines, Microsoft has created bigger and better ideas with each new release of their operating system and their prices remain at the reasonable price, if you don t consider the fact that there are no other operating systems like it to compare a price to, yet the price is still reasonable for something that runs your entire computer controlling its every operation and processes. A consumer has a choice, even though there are not too many choices the choice still exists, UNIX or LINUX which are both two command-based operating systems like DOS but they are far superior and more powerful. Lots of companies put out various versions of LINUX and UNIX (which are basically about the same type of operating system), so there is definitely a range of options in this sub-market of operating systems (Michael-Hayes 83). There is choice, but would a consumer prefer to buy a program that goes from Point A to Point B, Windows, or one that goes from Point C to Point A then to Point D to the completion at Point B? The answer to this question would commonly be no, because your average consumer does not have a bachelor s degree in computer science which is sometimes required to accomplish a mastery of UNIX, sometimes just to even install it. Deciding factors in this market are also based upon trust, does this consumer trust a small company that just began that they might have never heard of or do they trust Big Bill with his Windows operating system (OS) (Bournellis 6). An Operating System is an integral part of every computer, and usually a necessity, unless the user wants to stare into the blackness of an empty monitor day in and day out. Operating Systems organize all the computer processes to be processed efficiently it is what makes your computer the computer. An old bible story speaks of a man that built his house on sand and a man that built his house on a rock, even though Microsoft built its operating system on sand, it is very luxurious sand that does not erode too fast compared to the sturdy jagged rock that takes a good deal of work to reach the pinnacle, the completion, of a task that UNIX sits on. It is like choosing a nice looking, on the outside, FORD car to buying a boxy GMC full-sized cab truck. The product of choice, of course, would be the luxurious house on the sand, Windows OS, because even though you have a few break downs, sometimes a lot of breakdowns, breakdowns being instabilities in the OS, like what the FORD car might provide someone might still enjoy driving around in something that looks nicer. With all of these variables that go into making Windows OS the success that it is the government still found Microsoft to be a monopoly, even with fair pricing, and innovation with lack of competition they still are a monopoly.
In order for Microsoft to make it in the future they have to keep creating things, and coming up with new innovations and ideas, if not then that would be their demise. Bill Gates is aware of this and he is everyday looking for new ideas that will help boost his company into the next millennium on a pedestal. When Gates finally realized the future is the Internet; with millions and millions of users a day and an increase in users by day as well, how could this not be the future he had to take action. One of Microsoft s big battles was with the Netscape Navigator in the browser wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer, Microsoft s web browser. A web browser is used to display information that is put into a raw format that is not very easy to read until it is inputted into the web browser and then outputted to a nice clear web page. The web browser is what makes the Internet the Internet. It is like what an OS is to a computer as a web browser is to the Internet. For Microsoft to be the leader in the browser market as well as the OS market would definitely ensure their future, at least it did until the decision that Microsoft was a monopoly. Since Gates had enough overhead to cover the assets of offering something like his web browser for free to increase popularity of his product, Internet Explorer (IE), over Netscape s. Netscape could not compete with these extreme business tactics because they did not have too many other ways to generate enough overhead to cover the losses. Although, Bill took a lot longer to become the top dog of the browser market compared to the time it took in other markets, he still managed a victory over Netscape. Over time more and more people adopted IE over Netscape because of various reasons each user finds for him or herself (Bell 7). Things that might sway a users decision could be quicker loading times, more features for more advanced web browsing, more embedded plug-ins, a plug-in is a thing that adds a feature that can harness some new technology or something of that sort. The reasons for why someone might choose IE over Netscape is a very short list or a long list depending upon the person. The popularity of IE over Netscape is marginal, at least, but as time goes on Netscape will of course lose more and more support until finally Microsoft is on top of yet another market (Moschella 117). They are not at the top because of greed and monopolistic reasons, but they are at the top because of their innovation, low, basically non-existent, prices, and various methods of deploying the browser to the consumer.
The case that was recently against Microsoft, the Anti-trust case, found them guilty of being in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Sherman Act was designed to maintain economic liberty, and to eliminate restraints on trade and competition, (www.law.cornell.edu). In this case Gates company was proven to have committed a few substantially backed up things that might attribute to a monopoly, but still it does not mean Microsoft is a monopoly especially since they do not use manipulative monopolistic tactics. It was proven that Windows 98 runs slower with IE bundled with the Windows 98 OS, but even if it was not bundled the consumer would still obtain a copy of IE if that is what he preferred to use as his browser. It was also said that it posed possible security risks, what a person must understand is that the Internet is a big security risk all by itself. If you are important enough of a person that somebody is out to get you and attack you electronically, then they will. They will do whatever steps they can to achieve their goal, despite the fact that someone might have IE or Netscape or whatever that person is using on the Internet they will get them, browser or not (Penfield 60). The courts felt they had substantial reasons, and they probably were right in calling Microsoft a monopoly under written circumstances. On unwritten terms and if you looked beyond the papers and the facts, people would see Microsoft was a company trying to make things better, of course, making a profit for themselves, but overall bettering things for the consumer with its ease of use, or more power and faster operation Microsoft was their to make that happen, and if they would not have stepped in the changes might have never been made.
The fact of Microsoft being a monopoly all comes down to this, does a consumer buy the product still? Does the consumer want the product? Consumers demand the product and get upset when these products are late. If Gates had created a monopoly the consumer would not want to get the product so much, in fact, the consumer would not even upgrade his software to a later version because he was morally against the entire idea of Microsoft, and did not want to support the company. This is not the case so many people want these products that they outweigh the number that do not want the products by far. Bill Gates might be a hard working business man with capitalist tactics, and maybe his motivations are self involved. These facts do not make Bill s company a monopoly, it makes him a stern unpleasant businessman, but it does not make his company a monopoly. Providing a service that betters, and makes life easier at a reasonable price does not equal up to a monopoly, but to a company that wants to make money, knows how to make money, and is putting into play the proper business tactics to generate the money in order for their company to be successful in the technologically fueled years ahead.
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