Five years on
Posted Sep 30, 2010 17:29 UTC (Thu) by pboddie
In reply to: Five years on
Parent article: Red Hat Responds to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Request for Guidance on Bilski
Thanks for asking that question. Even five years later you recall that "bnetd" conversation over a third-party client for Blizzard games, but there are good reasons for why those cases are fundamentally different.
Actually, someone else brought the matter up fairly recently - I didn't read LWN in 2005 - and so it seemed like a reasonable moment to ask for a clarification. In fact, in that very article, someone brought up IBM mainframes and operating systems as an example of the tying instincts of certain elements of the computing industry, and so it might have seemed that since you had no problem with one vendor tying its software to its services, that IBM's behaviour might have been just as acceptable to you at that point in time.
Blizzard isn't dominant in the computer games market; and it wasn't when we had that debate. So there's no antitrust case that can be made, unlike in IBM's case.
But Blizzard dominated the market for services supporting its own games. Why is it different that IBM dominates the market for hardware that can run its own operating system?
And does caring about people who have chosen to be locked into IBM's architecture help the rest of us who have to unbundle Microsoft Windows every time we want to buy hardware from mainstream retail vendors? That's a far more important battle that never seems to end.
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