Is breaking up bad?

I recently read an article on ZDNet about the remedies discussed against Microsoft if found guilty in the trial against the Department of Justice. It told us about a study that found that breaking up Microsoft would cost the consumers $30 billion. The study was (as far as I can remember) sponsored by Microsoft.

I'm not at all sure it would cost consumers that much, or even if it's a bad thing at all from the consumers' point of view.

Software developers would be required to adapt to new windows descentants? What do they mean by that?

Developers would only be "required" to develop for the platform they want to make money from, just like today.

It also seems to me the study is assuming that

Frankly, IF any of these points have been assumed, it's just plain silly. It may suit Microsoft to present such a result, but it's not believable - and here's why:

The different Baby-Bills would HAVE TO compete, and would not be able to keep artificial high prices. And take into account that there are more players in the field, and even more arriving (Mac, Linux, Be, Amiga,...) If the Baby-Bills fail in this competition, it's because the consumers are not satisfied with them - and that can hardly be said to harm consumers...

Windows is not the only OS to develop for, not now, not later. And Mac is not the only other platform either. You all know Linux is getting more popular, replacing mostly NT, I guess, and BeOS is a nice OS for others. OS/2 still exists, and so does Amiga (Yes, even if you want to develop for a PPC-Amiga only.) And in the case of Amiga, a new generation will be out soon. A small market to develop for? It's what you make it - if it's a growing or potential market, you may even reap great benefits by getting in early!

No other platform will be able to compete with Windows? That would assume that MS does (almost) everything right, and no one will look for alternatives. And that is easily proved wrong: The trial against MS of course, and the fact that there ARE different OS around - some new, some old - and some gaining more popularity! Will software developers take the cost of NOT developing for more than Windows?

And then at last that developers should develop for every version of Windows. Do they now? Are they developing for Win 3.x, Win9x, WinNT? And if the reason for developing for all versions was to cover all OSes available - do they develop now for Mac, OS/2, Linux, BeOS, Amiga? Or do they choose to limit themselves?

As you can see, there are many competitors that can provide just as good, or (more likely) better alternatives than Windows. The only way consumers would be harmed, would be if they HAD TO buy a NEW version of Windows to run specific programs (old versions of windows and said programs wouldn't do for some reason) - and to higher prices than the competitors. While that may be possible now, I don't think consumers will do the same mistake again...

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