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Bill Gates becomes a Philanthropist

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their customers to not use competitor's products by threatening to cut them off or ruin them if they used certain customer's products.

 

They extended their monopoly in operating systems to office apps and then to other things. The superiority of DOS (which is what installed them with this power) was a business deal, not technical superiority--and relied heavily on the obvious incompetence of a major competitor.

 

All totally legal, even in an "ideal" system.

 

Not exactly the stuff of Atlas Shrugged heroes.

 

Yes, it is. Without government interference, Hank Rearden would've gained a monopoly on steel manufacturing, Galt on energy, and Dagny Taggart already had a monopoly on transportation in several areas.

The monopoly he held is proof that he was unmatched.

Edited by JASKN

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Fixed. Thanks for taking SkyLab's rationalization far enough that even he won't be able to avoid recognizing it now.

Yes, it is. Without government interference, Hank Rearden would've gained a monopoly on steel manufacturing, Galt on energy, and Dagny Taggart already had a monopoly on transportation in several areas.

The monopoly he held is proof that he was unmatched.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for BG. Just one single point relative to MSFT vs DOJ. The subject of the case was the "browser wars". I personally documented and provided to my employer at the time and they in turn to an involved attorney, evidence that MS-IE programmatically prevented the down load of three specific browsers. In my book that is FRAUD, totally apart from any malfeasance found via antitrust. It is MY computer and I have the sole right to say what it is to be used for. MSFT has repeatedly and persistently stolen the work of my machine running on my electricity, to perform tasks I did not and would not approve, and in this specific case while REFUSING to do a task I gave the command to do. That is fraud. 

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Yes, I see the pattern. I suppose everyone should drive a Lexus, maybe even a Tesla. The latest model is really cool, and they're definitely "available".

 

I'm busted. I drive a Mercedes, and ride a BMW.

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I'm busted. I drive a Mercedes, and ride a BMW.

Did you see what he did there? He was making the point that businesses serve all customers, not just the most affluent.

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That's fine, but it makes no sense to think everyone should.

Do not mean to say that. I only demand value for value, McD does not make the cut for me, but thousands consume happily. Not an issue.

 

Did you see what he did there? He was making the point that businesses serve all customers, not just the most affluent.

Precisely! That is why businesses who defraud the the less affluent are all the more heinous. 

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Do not mean to say that. I only demand value for value, McD does not make the cut for me, but thousands consume happily. Not an issue.

The same with Windows, and the same with the Model-T.

I used OS/2 a couple of decades ago, and it was better than Windows if one could afford the extra-powerful hardware. OS2 served certain people, and only recently has it been phased out of the various ATMs that used it. Windows finally did many of the things OS2 did, a few versions later. Windows was the McDonald / Walmart in that sense.

As for UNIX-flavored systems, even after Ubuntu etc. making things so much more plug-and-play, there's a good reason they're not adopted. I have friends who swear by stick-shifts. Having driven one for years, they're easy enough to master. Does not make them universally "better".

For a business a good product is a product that fits the customer's profile and budget.

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Unfortunately the same cannot be said for BG. Just one single point relative to MSFT vs DOJ. The subject of the case was the "browser wars". I personally documented and provided to my employer at the time and they in turn to an involved attorney, evidence that MS-IE programmatically prevented the down load of three specific browsers. In my book that is FRAUD, totally apart from any malfeasance found via antitrust. It is MY computer and I have the sole right to say what it is to be used for. MSFT has repeatedly and persistently stolen the work of my machine running on my electricity, to perform tasks I did not and would not approve, and in this specific case while REFUSING to do a task I gave the command to do. That is fraud.

Yeah, it's not. If it was, they would've been charged under anti-fraud laws, not anti-trust laws. They carry a bigger penalty.

Besides, I'm more interested in whether you feel bullied. It's a more pressing issue than debating history.

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The same with Windows, and the same with the Model-T.

I used OS/2 a couple of decades ago, and it was better than Windows if one could afford the extra-powerful hardware. OS2 served certain people, and only recently has it been phased out of the various ATMs that used it. Windows finally did many of the things OS2 did, a few versions later. Windows was the McDonald / Walmart in that sense.

As for UNIX-flavored systems, even after Ubuntu etc. making things so much more plug-and-play, there's a good reason they're not adopted. I have friends who swear by stick-shifts. Having driven one for years, they're easy enough to master. Does not make them universally "better".

For a business a good product is a product that fits the customer's profile and budget.

Good points, all. My angst with twentieth century software, (MSFT naturally leads the front here, but is not the sole perp), is that every design decision involves some trade-off. It is always development cost, vs speed of execution or resource usage, vs feature count, vs security considerations, vs ease of use, vs actually solving a real problem for the user. The reality is, for the majority of the history of computers these trade offs go overwhelmingly to minimizing development cost and maximizing feature count to the detriment of all the others. Even protests from the code developers fall on deaf ears. Similarly an unreasonable number of these same design decisions plus many development tool choices were made, that have and have had, the old pay me now or pay me later dynamic attached. So we all pay later, but only a few know why.  

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Yeah, it's not. If it was, they would've been charged under anti-fraud laws, not anti-trust laws. They carry a bigger penalty.

Besides, I'm more interested in whether you feel bullied. It's a more pressing issue than debating history.

Actually it is. The DOJ charge was antitrust because that is what the DOJ could file. They cannot file fraud charges because under US law that must be filed by a complainant.  So, whoever it was in DOJ that had their knickers in a wad for MSFT, filed what they could. No fraud  complainant came forward with deep enough pockets to pursue the case, even Larry Ellison declined. He preferred other litigious issues, civil usually, that netted him several millions of dollars along the way. 

 

Why is it even interesting whether I 'feel' bullied? Are you a second hander too?

The answer is a simple NO. FYI I am away too arrogant to 'feel' bullied by the likes of you. 

I simply interpreted "If your ambition was to beat those who are your inferiors (as it should be)" as 'it should be someones ambition to beat ones inferiors.', which still sounds like a bully at heart. Do you care to explain?

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The answer is a simple NO. FYI I am away too arrogant to 'feel' bullied by the likes of you. 

I simply interpreted "If your ambition was to beat those who are your inferiors (as it should be)" as 'it should be someones ambition to beat ones inferiors.', which still sounds like a bully at heart. Do you care to explain?

I would've explained myself if you would've told me that you felt bullied (since that wasn't my intention). But, since there's no injury, what exactly am I supposed to explain?

And no, the desire to win a competition is not what the definition of a bully is.

They cannot file fraud charges because under US law that must be filed by a complainant.

That's just plain false. Edited by Nicky

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I would've explained myself if you would've told me that you felt bullied (since that wasn't my intention). But, since there's no injury, what exactly am I supposed to explain?

And no, the desire to win a competition is not what the definition of a bully is.

That's just plain false.

O.K. perhaps I misunderstood your intent, but the phrase, "ambition was to beat those who are your inferiors" specifically omits competing against equals or superiors. I will chalk it up as unintended, but my concern was the seeming desire to limit competition to opponents one could more easily vanquish.

 

Speaking of a bad turn of phrase, yes, that is just plain false. The failure is in, "must be filed by a complainant". Let me try to say better what I was trying to convey.

US Fraud law requires an injured party or there is no fraud. <the point I stated so badly>

Similarly the magnitude of the injury is to be expressed in economic terms.

The 'injury' accrued to any one user from the software behaviour I described is very small, therefore in order to be meaningful the case would need to be class action, preferably with a lead plaintiff (the role Ellison, among others, declined). 

In addition, in any 'fraud scenario' US law requires proof of "intent to defraud" on the part of the defendant.

The US attorneys felt that the most highly contested point "intent to defraud" would be difficult to "spread over a whole class" and therefore declined to prosecute.

 

Is that clearer? I hope so, because it is history.

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US Fraud law requires an injured party or there is no fraud. <the point I stated so badly>

Similarly the magnitude of the injury is to be expressed in economic terms.

The 'injury' accrued to any one user from the software behaviour I described is very small, therefore in order to be meaningful the case would need to be class action, preferably with a lead plaintiff (the role Ellison, among others, declined). 

In addition, in any 'fraud scenario' US law requires proof of "intent to defraud" on the part of the defendant.

Do you think any of those requirements in US law are unreasonable?

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Fixed. Thanks for taking SkyLab's rationalization far enough that even he won't be able to avoid recognizing it now.

Yes, it is. Without government interference, Hank Rearden would've gained a monopoly on steel manufacturing, Galt on energy, and Dagny Taggart already had a monopoly on transportation in several areas.

The monopoly he held is proof that he was unmatched.

 

Wow, you missed the point of Ayn Rand's novels. I guess we shouldn't be surprised...

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Do you think any of those requirements in US law are unreasonable?

I assume your question is bounded by the context of the discussion. Strictly speaking (by that I mean, within the formalisms used to define the American legal system), I would say those specific requirements are very reasonable. However, that opinion applies only to the class of fraud defined by that body of law, all of which is the consequence of direct action. Federal law addresses no other kind.

 

I know of no legal system, and I seriously doubt one exists, that has developed a systematic approach to malfeasance whose 'action' is delivered embedded in software. Software developers have no legal culpability for the behaviour of their product.

As an Objectivist, I ask, "How can you ask me pay you for the privilege of using your software if you are unwilling to either warrant it's behaviour or assume culpability for the result of it's behaviour?"   

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I assume your question is bounded by the context of the discussion. Strictly speaking (by that I mean, within the formalisms used to define the American legal system), I would say those specific requirements are very reasonable. However, that opinion applies only to the class of fraud defined by that body of law, all of which is the consequence of direct action. Federal law addresses no other kind.

 

I know of no legal system, and I seriously doubt one exists, that has developed a systematic approach to malfeasance whose 'action' is delivered embedded in software. Software developers have no legal culpability for the behaviour of their product.

As an Objectivist, I ask, "How can you ask me pay you for the privilege of using your software if you are unwilling to either warrant it's behaviour or assume culpability for the result of it's behaviour?"

As an objective person, I would reply "No one asked you to do anything.". You could've, at any point, accepted that Microsoft has the right to make their software in any way they wish to make it (including make it promote other Microsoft products and not accommodate the competition's products), and you have the right to not buy Microsoft products if you don't like it.

Use some of those superior alternatives you speak of.

Edited by Nicky

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As an objective person, I would reply "No one asked you to do anything.". You could've, at any point, accepted that Microsoft has the right to make their software in any way they wish to make it (including make it promote other Microsoft products and not accommodate the competition's products), and you have the right to not buy Microsoft products if you don't like it.

Use some of those superior alternatives you speak of.

Are you under the impression I didn't? Get off the personalization BS. I am attempting to point out implications of O'ist ethics. There is a distinct difference between, "Microsoft has the right to make their software in any way they wish to make it", and, "Microsoft has the moral right to make their software in any way they wish to make it". If you think the latter statement is as true as the first, I see no point in continuing. 

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Are you under the impression I didn't? Get off the personalization BS. I am attempting to point out implications of O'ist ethics. There is a distinct difference between, "Microsoft has the right to make their software in any way they wish to make it", and, "Microsoft has the moral right to make their software in any way they wish to make it". If you think the latter statement is as true as the first, I see no point in continuing. 

1. I don't know what your objection is to my post, because you're misusing the word personalization. But whatever it is, I'm getting tired of you telling me how I should present my arguments. Worry about your own arguments, I'll worry about mine.

2. You alleged that Bill Gates is guilty of fraud. I responded by explaining to you what political rights are, and why he has the political right to do what he did, because that's the kind of rights you claimed he disregarded. That's what fraud is: a violation of political rights. So what are you doing going on about morality now? You're the one who made it about political rights.

If you concede that you were wrong about the fraud claim, I'd be happy to discuss the morality of his actions instead. But not before. As long as you're claiming that he committed fraud, please defend that position, and stop changing the goal posts.

Edited by Nicky

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Bill Gates is NOT representative of Capitalism qua capitalism. He is representative of capitalism as practiced in the USA in the latter half of the twentieth century. Capitalism is an UNKNOWN ideal. The result of his existence is unpleasant, he himself is quite personable when he wants to be.

This is the critique that "Occupy Wallstreet" and some libertarians use against companies like Goldman Sachs. However, merely dealing with government via lobbyists and campaign contributions does not mean a businessman is primarily culpable. While a small minority use political pressure as a major business tool, most do what they think they have to do. Among this range, Microsoft hardly used government at all. Here's some info.

 

The true villain of the Microsoft story is the average Joe complaining about monopolies, but meaning companies like Microsoft who dominated the PC software market with almost no help from the government. This is the average Joe who complains Microsoft is a monopoly, but won;t shell out the extra bucks to buy a Mac; the guy who does not put up or shut up, but instead wants to be served. If you want to visualize larger villains, I present two: Senator Orrin Hatch and James Barksdale of Netscape. Barksdale was a happy, willing participant in the persecution of Microsoft. Why should Microsoft make things easier for Netscape? In the end, the statist ideology won the day. Gates rolled over and pretty much gave up: Hatch and Barksdale won the day.

 

Business-wise, Microsoft was in the classical bind of not wanting to hurt their cash-cow products by innovating. Technically/product-wise, Microsoft missed the internet switch and played follower ever since. Any blocking of downloads was just silly. Many of my non-computer pals had downloaded other browsers, or had acquired them from the many free-disks that came in the mail and were using them with no help from Microsoft. At worst, you can say it was silly idea, but it pales in comparison to Netscape's use of governmental force to change the game.

 

More broadly, realize that when companies do get involved in politics, it is often secondary. The entrepreneur reaches a stage where he realizes that he has to play or lose. If you see Googles' involvement with government, it followed the same trajectory. 

 

 

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This is the critique that "Occupy Wallstreet" and some libertarians use against companies like Goldman Sachs. However, merely dealing with government via lobbyists and campaign contributions does not mean a businessman is primarily culpable. While a small minority use political pressure as a major business tool, most do what they think they have to do. Among this range, Microsoft hardly used government at all. Here's some info.

 

The true villain of the Microsoft story is the average Joe complaining about monopolies, but meaning companies like Microsoft who dominated the PC software market with almost no help from the government. This is the average Joe who complains Microsoft is a monopoly, but won;t shell out the extra bucks to buy a Mac; the guy who does not put up or shut up, but instead wants to be served. If you want to visualize larger villains, I present two: Senator Orrin Hatch and James Barksdale of Netscape. Barksdale was a happy, willing participant in the persecution of Microsoft. Why should Microsoft make things easier for Netscape? In the end, the statist ideology won the day. Gates rolled over and pretty much gave up: Hatch and Barksdale won the day.

 

Business-wise, Microsoft was in the classical bind of not wanting to hurt their cash-cow products by innovating. Technically/product-wise, Microsoft missed the internet switch and played follower ever since. Any blocking of downloads was just silly. Many of my non-computer pals had downloaded other browsers, or had acquired them from the many free-disks that came in the mail and were using them with no help from Microsoft. At worst, you can say it was silly idea, but it pales in comparison to Netscape's use of governmental force to change the game.

 

More broadly, realize that when companies do get involved in politics, it is often secondary. The entrepreneur reaches a stage where he realizes that he has to play or lose. If you see Googles' involvement with government, it followed the same trajectory. 

Excellent summary! Barksdale seemed to often take the attitude, "the ends justify the means", the slipperiest of slippery slopes. 

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1. I don't know what your objection is to my post, because you're misusing the word personalization. But whatever it is, I'm getting tired of you telling me how I should present my arguments. Worry about your own arguments, I'll worry about mine.

2. You alleged that Bill Gates is guilty of fraud. I responded by explaining to you what political rights are, and why he has the political right to do what he did, because that's the kind of rights you claimed he disregarded. That's what fraud is: a violation of political rights. So what are you doing going on about morality now? You're the one who made it about political rights.

If you concede that you were wrong about the fraud claim, I'd be happy to discuss the morality of his actions instead. But not before. As long as you're claiming that he committed fraud, please defend that position, and stop changing the goal posts.

 

You don't know what my objection is, because you are obtuse. My use of the word is covered by definition two in the New Oxford American Dictionary, and I quote, "

2 cause (something, esp. an issue, argument, or debate) to become concerned with personalities or feelings rather than with general or abstract matters : the mass media's tendency to..."

 

I do not worry about your posts, I am amused by them. I do not need to worry about my posts because I actually think about them before I post them.

 

Your second paragraph is so far off in left field, it might be fun to continue the snarky dialogue, line by line, but I shall refrain, there really is no point. You have made it abundantly clear your mind is closed, you read all I say in scan mode, looking for phrases that trigger some pet talking point. 

 

Since you seem to have difficulty figuring out where the "goal posts" are, I will try to make it easy for you, in case you again fail to follow through on your opening threat in post#69 of this thread. 

 

Copied from prior posts, where I tried to make it easy for you:

#54 opening assertion, referring to Bill Gates: 

his behavior, his words, and his legacy are all of one moral stance, a looter, not at all similar to a moral O'ist. 

 

Just a reminder BlackDiamond opened the morality question all the way back in post #45

 

#58 I reiterate: 

My point is simply that from an objectivist ethical point of view, Mr Gates and the company he founded, both leave a great deal to be desired should an O'ist want to use them as a model for behavior.

 

#65 Closing point to another poster: 

Once unethical behavior is detected however, it behoves a moral system to offer recourse to the victims.

 

#68 I took offense at your "my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts attitude", and I STILL tried to make it easy and clear:   

My ONLY point is that from an O'ist ethical point of view Mr. Gates, does not, has not, and unfortunately may never, measure up to even the most modest of standards.

 

#88 I try to help you out, explaining why my implicit use of the word 'fraud' in a statutory context was misleading and why therefore, your objection was valid, and still you do not 'get' that I intend the word in the 'moral' context as Ms Rand used it. 

 

Sorry no retraction. Any piece of software that arbitrarily refuses, with zero user feedback, to execute functions it is capable of performing and for which it has UI support, is fraudulent software. And I do not care who wrote or 'sells' it.

 

I do understand much better why you admire Mr. Gates though. You share some interesting characteristics.

Edited by Skylab72

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I can't impress this on you enough: I no longer care about what you take offense at. Not since the first time you took offense at my bullying, only for it to turn out that you didn't: you were using your alleged "offense" as a debate tactic instead.

Enough of that. Address the arguments with logical counter arguments, or leave me alone. Enough about your feelings.

#88 I try to help you out, explaining why my implicit use of the word 'fraud' in a statutory context was misleading and why therefore, your objection was valid, and still you do not 'get' that I intend the word in the 'moral' context as Ms Rand used it. 

 

Sorry no retraction. Any piece of software that arbitrarily refuses, with zero user feedback, to execute functions it is capable of performing and for which it has UI support, is fraudulent software. And I do not care who wrote or 'sells' it.

Oh great, you take back that Microsoft committed fraud, except that you don't. That makes things real clear.

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Skylab, save your breath.

 

A completely free market allows (and even encourages) monopolies that thwart innovation to exist for a certain period of time--sometimes even quite a while.

 

To some, like Nicky, this destroys the belief system that allows them to call themselves, "Objectivists" (and what would they do then). To them, belief requires capitalism to have desirable outcomes every single time and in every single context for every single person.

 

If you present evidence that sometimes the outcomes are not perfect (even if, for instance, the alternative system would be much worse), then your evidence is invalid by definition, because in order for it to be true, that would mean Ayn Rand's apparent unconditional (and non-contextual) endorsement of a completely free market might have been incorrect, which of course means that everything else Ayn Rand ever said was false, up to and including "A is A".

 

So Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Goldman Sachs, etc. etc. are all absolutely good. When the employees at Goldman call their customers "muppets" because they see them as marks in their scams, well, they are heroes because they are simply exercising the free market system. Sure, nobody questions the fact that we need to let the three of them happen because the alternative is worse. Some people don't have the cognitive capacity to tell the difference between an entrepreneur who worked hard to bring an innovative shoe polish to market--and then going on to other inventions after the initial product made a good amount of profit--and the inevitable feces emitted from the otherwise healthy body which is the free market: those who exploit loopholes in the system and profit from activities diametrically opposed to the values under which the system was conceived.

 

Which is all to say they don't know shit from Shinola. Save your breath my friend.

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Is capitalism of the laissez faire variety , or the completely free market anything other than a description of mutually beneficial voluntary trade en masse? Or is there a point in or level of societal complexity that requires control to ensure that individuals are aware of the differences between the services provided by an excavator and a proctologist? Ya know somehow to make sure we keep the ideas of a hole in the ground and our asses seperate?

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