Quote of the day–Asa Dotzler

In a functioning market, vendors producing superior products would take share from vendors producing inferior products. Today that’s simply not possible because the cost of the most effective channel for distribution, shipping as the default browser with new computers, for everyone except the OS vendor is prohibitively high.

Asa Dotzler
Mozilla’s director of community development
January 17, 2009
competition is good (see also EU: Microsoft ‘shields’ IE from competition — Web too important to let one company dominate browser market, says Opera CEO)
[Taking this quote out of context is a bit unfair and he does address some of the issues I have concerns about. But the bottom line is there is much more to the story. “Superior products”, in his mind, is defined differently than the market has defined it. And unless there is government inference (or other application of force in the market place) then the “superior product” has, in fact, dominated the marketplace. The (relatively) free market has defined “superior product” in such a way that ease of distribution has played a major factor. In order words Microsoft is competing in the distribution channel and the market has spoken and said, “The Microsoft distribution channel is better.”

That Microsoft exploited their superior distribution channel and the customers responded favorably to this offering is not justification for some government thugs (the EU) to declare MS a law breaker and demand fines or that they offer free access of that distribution channel to their competition. Those competitors need to build their own distribution channel and compete in that market. Until they successfully do that they have a big hole in their offering because the distribution channel is part of the feature set.

Microsoft management will, almost for certain, be more “responsible to the stockholders” than I would. If it were up to me I would be strongly inclined to tell the EU they can write their own damn software. MS would refuse to allow any of their software be used in any EU country until the EU thugs making these decisions are all in prison or selling pencils and apples on the street corners to see what the free market is really all about.

Disclaimer: I work for Microsoft but I am not in a position of management and my opinion in no way reflects that of my employer.–Joe]


4 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Asa Dotzler

  1. Amen, Joe. I’ve often wished that Ballmer and Co. would just tell the EU: “Yep, great. We are withdrawing from the market then. Good luck with that Linux stuff.”

  2. “that Linux stuff” works great, apart from the fact that the market for it is still very limited outside the back end stuff.

    And it is not without its own sets of issues. OpenSUSE 11.0 will not install because of a ‘conflict’ between the onboard and AGP video cards, both of which I use to dual head.

    Windows 2000 & XP however behave perfectly. This is older hardware too, so no excuse for needing bleeding edge drivers.

    KUbuntu isn’t too happy with it either. And if I pull the card and add it back later it is very far from a plug’n’play experience top get it running hand editing XConfig files. And yet I run it because I have a commercial need to have a Unix based development environment.

    “That Linux stuff” works great for geeks, and will also work well in an environment that is tied down with a common desktop. Outside that the TCO is a wash in my experience.

    Want a niche app that has no open source counterpart (of which there are thousands)? Pony up the cash and buy it or have it written. The cost is the same regardless of the platform chosen.

    Even many of the open source apps are weak. GIMP does not fully support 16bit per channel images. Photoshop has done this for years and the lack of that support puts GIMP in a very bad light.

    Like it or not, Linux still has a very long way to go to make serious inroads into the desktop market outside of basic office tasks.

    Something like MS pulling out of the EU market would provide the impetus to make that happen but at the cost of the injection of several hundred million dollars of direct EU investment. Business in general won’t pay that because MS has got, as Joe says, the channel.

    And if that happens who is now being uncompetitive?

  3. I didn’t mean to slam on Linux…it does indeed work very well. I’ve got quite a few Linux boxes.

    Earl, however, is correct. The diverse your ecosystem, the more challenges you have in supporting everything. Linux has not really penetrated the client side of things much. The rise of Netbooks may change that…however, again in those instances you are dealing with a fairly homogeneous set of hardware.

    If Microsoft pulled a Ronnie Barrett and said “EU, you are on your own” it would be a painful time for a lot of people. It would take a long time to build the kind of servicing tools that would be necessary to support tens of million of diverse client machines.

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