Without trying to defend MS, it can only dominate markets that
customers allow it to dominate. Nobody is forced to purchase MS
products. They do so because, for whatever reason, they perceive that
MS serves their needs. One of those needs is file compatibility with
others, which by its nature, allows MS sales to feed on themselves.
The more people buy MS products, the more people need to buy MS
products to communicate with all the others who went before.
But, of course, the only reason file compatibility is an issue - the
only reason MS can behave as it does - is that it is an effective
monopoly. Last time I checked monopolies are anti-competitive, and
there are LAWS in the US to curb them. So I agree, there is a role for
gov't to step in. Good luck waiting for that though. Break the
monopoly for a few years by being hyper-vigilant about code development
and marketing and you might actually break the monopoly for good.
Furthermore, if enough people forced gov't to accept standardized
document types (e.g. ODT or even PDFs!), the monopoly would weaken.
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