Microsoft And Monopoly
This
paper will show my opinion of Microsoft being branded a monopoly. 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 2. 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