Five years on
Posted Oct 4, 2010 11:37 UTC (Mon) 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
Rewinding to bring in the context...
It was found dominant. But being dominant isn't illegal. It's the combination of dominance and abuse that's illegal.
They are not the same because a case of illegal tying is characterized by customers being forced to take something they don't want in order to buy something they need from a dominant vendor. No single PC vendor is dominant
Yes, but the operating system vendor is dominant.
Which is what you already said before you trimmed away the context. Yes, you can get alternatives to Windows on hardware purchased through mainstream retail channels, if you managed to navigate to the disused lavatory where those alternatives are "on display", and you might even be able to ask for no operating system at all, but most "consumers" get told that Windows is "part of the product" and that they have to take their complaints to the vendor (the classic lazy retailer excuse, contrary to consumer regulation in various countries), who in turn often tell the customer the same thing or that their deal with Microsoft precludes any kind of refund. At which point, most people determined enough to pursue the matter that far (and few people are) are likely to give up and write off their loss, which is the gain of the "dominant vendor", of course.
Now maybe this isn't a "big R" regulatory matter that involves finger-wagging from the European Commission - although it is baffling that they entertain the dog and pony show that is the Web browser parade with all its back-and-forth between the EU and Microsoft, but not something effective like this - but it certainly is a matter that requires some kind of "small R" regulatory intervention, at least from the perspective of anyone whose idea of buying stuff isn't having extra stuff thrown into one's shopping basket and being made to pay for it. But I accept that our perspectives may differ on such matters.
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