I’d never imagine I’d see this argument by anyone, especially by someone who aims to be an authority in tech sector reporting but it seems that ideology trumps facts. See Techdirt’s Mike’s (I assume Masnick?) latest quote:
And, for that matter, I’d suggest that you’re wrong in your initial assessment. Microsoft beat all of the companies you listed above by creating a BETTER PRODUCT.
Now let’s see
- MS Word VS Wordprerfect
- Exchange VS Lotus Notes
- Internet Explorer 6 VS Opera
- MS-Dos VS DR-Dos
- Active Directory VS Novell Netware
There’s a lot of other products that suffered the same fate because of the way MS “competes” which has nothing to do with building better products. Indeed all tech experts were scratching their head how an upstart competitor with a clearly inferior product could be winning market share against his well entrenched opponents.
The answer of course is by anti-competitive tactics, which is to say, by doing anything else except building a better product. If there’s anything to be said about Microsoft products is that they have always been second class with a lot of bugs features that nobody wanted. And yet, they win.
Still, Techdirt seems unable to recognise this fact. This can only be because free market idealism has clouded their minds so much that monopolies and shady practices don’t even register. No, everything is fair competition as far as they’re concerned. But this is of course a fallacious reasoning as their argument goes like this.
- Products/Companies in the free marketwho gain market space do so by building better products
- Microsoft is gaining market space
- Therefore Microsoft must be building better products.
Of course this is patently ridiculous, as the very first premise is wrong. Companies have many means in their disposal to gain market space that don’t involve building better products. From using your monopolistic market share to strong arm your allies to drop the competitor’s products, to setting fire to the other’s stores.
Wether Microsoft is gaining or losing market share is does not tell us anything about the quality of their products or their tactics from the very simple fact that correlation does not equal causation. To find out what is causing this, you need to look deeper into practices and product comparisons, something which Techdirt is apparently unwilling to do and much prefers the lazy way out.