The Monopoly Discussions [2021]

Discussion in 'PC Industry' started by DSoup, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. ChuckeRearmed

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    It feels like that rhetoric and concerns about monopolies started when MS purchased Bethesda. I wonder if in the parallel universe where Sony purchased Bethesda, people raised the same concerns about Sony being a monopoly, but nobody ever raised that concern because Sony's market cap is bigger. Interesting thing is that the concerns are always about either american or chinese companies.
     
  2. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    I agree but this is because for laws to be effective in a free market, they have to be written more generally rather than with a specific actor (e.g. Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Apple or Facebook) in mind. The downside to this is sometimes others get caught in the legal cross-fire.

    The calls for Microsoft to be broken up are more than twenty years old. And the discussion on breaking up big tech has been going on for a few years, has nothing to do with Bethesda and nothing to do with gaming at all. :nope: You need to get outside and see what's going on.
     
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  3. ChuckeRearmed

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    As I already stated before MS in 90s and early 2000s is different from the current one because it has no monopoly in anything. What competition MS had in 2000s? It had even a good share of mobile market.

    I know the topic about breaking tech - usually means Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. It is just the concerns about MS monopoly started to appear across gaming (specifically) community more since the purchase of Bethesda. These days MS is not a monopoly in anything in any market and nowhere close to it. Maybe Office only?
     
    #23 ChuckeRearmed, Jan 15, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  4. Johnny Awesome

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    I agree that MS isn't really on the US Government's radar compared to Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and Google.

    Also, anything that hurts them with regard to monopoly regulation will likely hurt their streaming competitors equally or more, so MS should just keep acquiring until they have what they need IMO.

    IMO they should buy Asobo, Moon Studios, Sega and WB Studios. Go for the gusto in reverse order of size, which probably means - WB, Sega, Asobo, Moon.

    GamePass would have plenty of content with 50 dev teams. They could put out a AAA game every 2 months, even with 5 year dev cycles.

    GamePass would become irresistible at that point and probably reach 100+ million subscribers within a few years.
     
  5. ChuckeRearmed

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    I suspect it is because MS is deeply involved with the government. Not sure how, but like with the recent Amazon's actions with the deplatforming - it gives some nice perks probably and less scrutinize.

    The thing is that having a lot of studios would allow MS to publish more licensed content like Indiana Jones too. WB without IPs is kinda odd, but with bigger amount of studios that can probably do something with other properties.

    I wonder if eventually will be made into a public platform. But I don't think it can be justified anyhow because it is not like Twitter destroys or purchases the competitors.
     
  6. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    Microsoft competition on the 2000s wasn't that much different, except they were competing with Apple on digital music players and stores and Google in a number of areas where Google were pushing service solutions to Microsoft's app solutions. Google cited Microsoft as one of its key competitors in 2004.

    Did you miss my earlier post or are your seriously contesting that Microsoft has a near absolute monopoly on consumer desktop operating systems (Windows) and productivity applications (Office)? What you have to factor in, is not whether there are alternatives, because there are in both categories, but the viability and disruption (incl. cost) of customers have to move to an alternative.

    Does it feel like being successful is being penalised? Sure. Is that going to stop legislation aimed at big tech from impacting Microsoft? No.
     
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  7. Silent_Buddha

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    Something people should keep in mind when discussing these things WRT to the United States is that a monopoly isn't necessarily considered bad by the government although it increases government scrutiny of a companies behavior.

    The United States and it's relevant laws is centered around monopolistic behavior regardless of whether an individual or business entity has a monopoly. As such even if a corporation or group or corporations has less than 50% market share, they can still be prosecuted for monopolistic behavior while a business that has greater than 90% market share can operate freely as long as they aren't deemed to be exhibiting monopolistic behavior.

    Microsoft in the 90's wasn't prosecuted because they were a monopoly. They were prosecuted because of how they used that monopoly to maintain their monopoly by making it difficult for companies to release competing internet browsers (Netscape in particular) on their Windows platform. Likewise with a previous ruling that Microsoft could not tie their other software to the sales of Windows. Basically to prevent Microsoft from making OEMs or storefronts from having to sell all of their software catalog if they wanted to just sell the Windows OS.

    An example in the other direction was the antitrust case against Apple colluding with a group of book publishers to fix the prices of books. This was despite Apple being a minority storefront for book sales and the publishers controlling, in total, less than 50% of the book market. However, the behavior was deemed to be monopolistic in that it attempted to prevent free market competition by raising the price of books in such a way that any storefront (Amazon in this case, which held 90% of online book sales) would not be allowed to sell books by these publishers if they didn't agree to sell the books at the higher price.

    This was specifically a case where the ruling protected the monopoly (Amazon) against a non-monopoly (Apple and Book Publishers) because Amazon was not using their monopoly in a monopolistic or anti-consumer way while the others were colluding to operate in a monopolistic way despite not having a monopoly. Amazon subsequently started losing marketshare as other storefronts popped up offering books at competitive pricing. IE - smaller storefronts could now safely offer books at lower than MSRP online without fear of reprisal from those book publishers. Something Amazon had been able to do because of the volume of books they sold.

    When looking at the Bethesda purchase. It doesn't matter if Microsoft is considered a monopoly or not. It doesn't even matter if it would result in Microsoft being a monopoly. Whether the sale would face resistance from the government revolves around whether this would result in monopolistic behavior (specifically abuse in such a way as to hamper or restrict the ability of other companies to compete or result in anti-consumer behavior, like price fixing).

    In the US, a monopoly just means a company is under closer scrutiny than otherwise. But any individual or company may be prosecuted for monopolistic behavior regardless of the size of said company or how much (or how little) market share they have.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #27 Silent_Buddha, Jan 15, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  8. ChuckeRearmed

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    No, at that time MS was clearly a established juggernaut with close to 100% market share on computer devices.

    Windows is a essentially open platform already and the only difference from Linux is that it is not an open source.

    Nothing prevents you from installing it on any device that can run it, nothing prevents you from using it for whatever purpose you want, nothing prevents you from pirating it, nothing prevents you from playing there any game, installing application from any source, nothing forces you to use there any IDE, any gaming engine, any API, whatever you want. It does not turn your PC into a brick if you did not disable Internet when servers are down, it does not require to purchase you a specific device to use its services.

    You don't want to use Office? Fine. You don't want to use Windows Store? Fine. You don't want to use music player? Fine (I haven't used them since the advent of subscription services). You don't want Windows? Fine. Don't want to use DirectX? Fine. Don't want to use Visual Studio? Fine. You don't want Skype? Fine.

    These MS is not eve suppressing Linux anymore - it even contributes there (for a particular reason though). It did not even suppress Slack and if Slack introduced video calls it would fare better.

    Office is in interesting case though. But it has competition, just the competition is nowhere near as developed as Office (they are not even trying and shabby at best) and MS does not enforce you to use Office either. As far as I recall you can implement you own editors that use .xlsx and other formats. MS just have a very solid foundation that it developed through the years. It is not even act as a monopolist anymore, trying to suppress the competition.
     
    #28 ChuckeRearmed, Jan 15, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
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  9. Silent_Buddha

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    That is not looking at it in the correct way. The questions that would be asked are.
    • Is Microsoft doing anything to prevent or hamper the ability of other companies to compete with their products?
      • For example, are stores or OEMs that sell their products prohibited from selling or providing products from other companies?
      • Is Microsoft giving preferential treatment to stores that agree to not sell or provide products from other companies?
      • Is Microsoft withholding information from competitors of it's non-OS software that they would need in order to write software that runs well on Microsoft's Windows OS?
      • Is Microsoft actively sabotaging the performance of competitor's software on Windows OS?
      • Is Microsoft using their dominant market position to harm consumers in some way?
    • Is Microsoft's dominant market position a result of monopolistic behavior or is it a result of consumers choosing their products over other products without Microsoft actively hampering other companys' ability to compete with their products.
    Again, it doesn't matter if MS holds 80+% of the home computer market. What matters is how they operate while holding that market.

    They've come under scrutiny at multiple points in the past. For example, they used to give preferential treatment to OEMs that agreed not to offer systems with Linux on it. The government started to look into that and MS stopped that program. Similarly if Apple were to go to Amazon and tell Amazon that they could sell Apple computers but only if they stopped selling Windows computers and Amazon agreed to that, then Apple would likely face a US Antitrust case.

    Regards,
    SB
     
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  10. liams

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    Bit of an update from Brad Sams (the guy whos tweet I previously posted and got the discussion going again) further clarified what he was talking about in that tweet during his weekly 'sams report' link below, (timestamped)

    This is a snapshot of the industry at large, not just specific to Microsoft

    In summary:
    • He has heard of a lot of movement behind the scenes with a ton of companies getting offers
    • He said that the big gaming companies that you would think of like EA and take 2 are looking
    • Big names in gaming (doesn't clarify who) are being approached by Microsoft, amazon and google to be acquired, and that sony is a part of some of those conversations but not to the same extent
    • he also mentions facebook
    • he seems to think some of this stuff will be announced soon - but lawyers
    • he knows of 3 deals that are actively being done, but not who will ultimately purchase them (doesnt mention which 3)










     
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  11. ChuckeRearmed

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    I wonder if Amazon, Google, Facebook face the same issues that MS faced in the beginning for Xbox.
     
  12. liams

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    honestly if I were them the only play that I could see would be to buy an 'anchor tenant' for my service like WB, and then add other services to the service either like xbox is with EA play or like amazon is by having a ubisoft channel. For example if I was amazon maybe WB is included with your prime sub, with amazon hoping that you like the service so you will subscribe to the other channels.

    The problem is imo that people simply wont trust them when it comes to gaming, especially google. xbox still has some level of distrust and they have been around for 20 years! Google has the added con of having the knack for killing all their products/services after a few years.

    The other issue is that I dont see any pure cloud solution being able to survive on digital only sales, that is, one and done game purchases, they almost have to be a subscription of some sort, and for that you need content obviously. At this point none of them can outclass microsofts first party if they started buying up studios, especially because if they started ramping up purchases I'm sure microsoft would more than respond in kind. I can see amazons luna surviving because bezos seems pretty persistent, but only in the form that it is now, using the channel system. I dont think stadia is going to be around in 5 years. Facebook I think will keep excelling at its niche of VR games, and wont be too concerned by what amazon and microsoft are doing, just keeping an eye one it.
     
    #32 liams, Jan 15, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2021
  13. ChuckeRearmed

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    Yeah, MS's reputation is holding it back but it seems during the last couple of years they are having much better public opinion + it also helps that they are not involved in public scandals regarding monopolies and also bring games like PSO to the western market using their own Azure platform. Also their involvement into e-sports.

    Their 20 years in the gaming will pay dividends in time. Or already paying.

    I feel like there will be some partnership between Facebook and Microsoft on some point. Yeah, I too think Facebook will have different types of games in comparison to other services - like you mentioned it has VR and looking at recent output it is more into live show style gaming.
     
  14. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    On the desktop nothing has changed. In the mobile world, Microsoft had already lost their WinCE/HPC domination to Palm then BlackBerry. In the server world, Windows Server and Exchange were even less prolific than they were now as it was more common to backend Office with linux and in terms of games consoles Microsoft have having slightly less success than they are now so I don't share your revisionist history.

    Windows is not anything like an open platform. For 99% of people that doesn't matter but the code is closed-source and you cannot change the Windows kernel is any way. If you want to develop a new bonkers piece of hardware and hoot it up you your computer, you can do that on Windows as long as there is a support device driver class, if there isn't then you can't. It's a simple as that. In linux, you write a new device driver class and bind that into your kernel. Tjay's the definition of an open platform because the limit of what you can do it literally your ability.

    You are parroting Microsoft's own, universally dismissed, rationale from the 1990s. Well done. :nope:

    What issues? Amazon wasn't the first online store that sold books, Google wasn't the first search engine and Facebook wasn't the first social networking site. Each gained market traction by achieving the task better than the competition. People forget that Google struggled and tried to sell its search tech to the established Yahoo, and it took Amazon ten long years to post a profit. Established in 1994, it posted its first profit in 2004. When Microsoft entered the console market, their experience was nothing like any of these companies entering their markets, they all had to build their tech from the ground-up from whatever money they could scrounge. When Microsoft was developing the Xbox, Microsoft had money, tech (Direct X) and resources - they were the largest company on the planet at the time.
     
    #34 DSoup, Jan 16, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  15. ChuckeRearmed

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    Being open doesn't necessary require having access to source code aka being open source. Being open means that I can build, set up and use Windows machine for anything I want. I can setup my shop (hello Tim Epic), I can pirate the game, I can take my hard drive with OS and install on another PC and it will even work. Open means being able to use Windows by everybody

    I am pretty sure it is possible to write drivers for Windows you know...I highly doubt that drivers for each and every device is written by MS only.

    Companies not wanting to be bought because for MS gaming initiative could be just a loss on balance, while for the some companies gaming was a lifeline so companies did not want to be sold to create games exclusively for Xbox. Sometimes I feel like you still think that it is still early 2000s...
     
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  16. PSman1700

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    No idea about him but more often then not older people generally do ;)
     
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  17. tuna

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    There are limitations as you can only write the drivers via the Windows driver API. With Linux (and BSDs) you can do whatever you want basically.
     
  18. ChuckeRearmed

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    But wasn't linux drivers were notoriously bad for various hardware?
     
  19. liams

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    Saying you can't do anything you want with windows is like saying you can't make anything you want with LEGO pieces, sure maybe you want to make some random free form shape and bemoan that you cant make an official block with some specific curve in it, but that's not the point of LEGO blocks. Its the same with windows, sure maybe you cant see all the source code but you can still build whatever you want on top of it, sure maybe if you had access to the source code that you could tweak you could do your thing better/faster/more efficiently, but just like with LEGO that's not the point. Windows acts as a stable foundation for all software, if you could go in and mess around with things without using the windows driver API or using the other components of the OS you would be forever rewriting whatever custom driver that you made. That's the purpose of windows, it provides software devs with the building blocks to produce software within a framework and staying within that framework more or less guarantees that your software will continue to work in the future.

    How much of an uproar would there be if game dev made an ultra super amazing driver that didn't use the windows driver API, that only supported their own game that completely broke every 6 months with each windows update? It would be even worse if someone like adobe made a similar driver for their creative suite, how many businesses would not be able to complete work if they suddenly couldn't use adobe products?
     
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  20. DSoup

    DSoup meh
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    You can't. You are limited by the API and kernel extensions that Microsoft support.

    You can write Windows drivers using the kernel extensions that Microsoft offer, if that's not enough then you can't do anything to solve that.

    I don't follow this in the context of your original response. :???: Google and Amazon both tried to sell themselves to other companies. Huh!?! :confused:
     
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