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20 August 2002 @ 08:14 am
Thought for today: On the Microsoft "Monopoly"  
Here, instead, the dominance is in the minds of the people who buy software. Microsoft has power because people believe it does. This power is very real. It makes lots of money. Judging from recent legal procedings in both
Washingtons, it would appear that this power and this money have inspired some very peculiar executives to come out and work for Microsoft, and that Bill Gates should have admnistered saliva tests to some of them before issuing them Microsoft ID cards.
But this is not the sort of power that fits any normal definition of the word "monopoly", and it's not amenable to a legal fix. The courts may order Microsoft to do things differently. They might even split the company up. But they can't really do anything about a mindshare monopoly, short of taking every man, woman, and child in the developed world and subjecting them to a lengthly brainwashing procedure.

-Neal Stephenson, In The Beginning... Was The Command Line