Microsoft is getting another spanking for the crime of producing products that people want, this time in the European courts who fantasise that "consumers are suffering at the hands of Microsoft." The Europeans are pig ignorant buffoons who are ensuring that consumers will suffer, just as they always do with every antitrust decision.
"Once again," as Onkar Ghate pointed out last time Microsoft was given the finger by the courts,
Microsoft is being attacked for its success: in reality it has no monopoly power just brilliant management.... Microsoft is today's prime example of what Ayn Rand called 'America's Persecuted Minority.' Like an increasing number of big businesses, Microsoft is being punished for being successful, for making products that people want to purchase.Microsoft has no monopoly power? It's true. Microsoft has no political power to force to consumers to buy its products, only the economic power to offer them products worth buying. In fact, as George Reisman explains, it is Microsoft's competitors who are after the monopoly:
So the Europeans fantasise that "consumers are suffering at the hands of Microsoft." Mark Hubbard looks at the European decision and confesses to "a fantasy" of his own, a "daydream, that Bill Gates will hold a press conference and announce the demise of Microsoft forthwith: no new products, no support for existing ones, they are simply going to disappear: and then see what the world looks like."
What underlies such an incredible outcome is the utterly mistaken belief that overwhelming competitive success, to the point that one man or one company dominates an entire industry, constitutes monopoly. This, of course, is the kind of success that Gates and Microsoft have enjoyed.
The fact is that such an outcome of free competition is not monopoly. But it is monopoly when those capable of bringing about such an outcome are forcibly excluded from an industry, or any part of an industry. The accompanying forcible reservation of an industry or part of an industry even to a mass of less capable producers is the real monopoly, as much as if the industry had been forcibly reserved to the possession of one man or one company. The essential element in monopoly is forcible exclusion and forcible reservation, not the number of producers.
It's an interesting thought, isn't it. Who would suffer then, I wonder. Who needs whom more?