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.
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]