May 08, 2005

Letter to the Paper ILVI

Samizdata has an apologia for Microsoft in its current troubles with the EU. Too many libertarians are unhappy with the anti-trust means that Microsoft is being attacked with and fall into the mistake of defending Microsoft's theft and fraud record.

Defenders of Microsoft misidentify the victims. It's not the customer who spends $120 for Windows XP. It's the small Independent Software Vendor (ISV) who spends $5000 a year on universal MSDN subscriptions in order to program for the Win32 API.

Microsoft sells products to programmers in order to access its supposedly publicly documented API. For many years it publicly represented to said customers that they have a level playing field and its own applications programmers do not have a leg up.

Microsoft lied. It lied repeatedly in a strategic way that tilted the OS playing field for approaching a decade and raked in a huge amount of money based on the network effects of that lie. The proof is that they did an orwellian about face and now deny that they ever made such representations. They did lie and I remember. A lot of computer professionals do. There's precious little money in bringing that history up so most stay quiet and just look for opportunities to extract a small measure of justice by kneecapping MS where possible.

MS is engaging in the same sort of lying today. It includes player application technology in its OS platform and discriminates against its OS development tool customers by denying them a level playing field. That's the essence of the current EU contretemps, properly understood.

Posted by TMLutas at May 8, 2005 11:13 AM