Microsoft's big byte out of hot competition in computer 0...


October 31, 1998

Microsoft's big byte out of hot competition in computer 0) market

The price of computers has fallen significantly in the past few years, from more than $2,000 to under $1,000 for an entry-level computer. This is because of fierce competion in the computer ** industry for nearly every major component of the modern computer.

But one component of the computer that has not dropped in price is the operating system software.

Seven years ago, the combination of Microsoft DOS and Microsoft Windows 3.1 added about $90-$100 to the price of the standard PC.

When Windows 95 came out, it still cost about $90-$100, and the recent advent of Windows 98 has seen no reduction in price. This is because there is simply no competition to speak of.

Competion is likely to further reduce the price of an entry-level computer in the next few years to near $500. Will Microsoft Windows still cost $90-$100?

The article by Jeff Jacoby ("Microsoft monopoloy made by the people," Oct. 26) compared Microsoft's inclusion of the Internet browser, Internet Explorer, to that of Chrysler Motors' inclusion of Chrysler engines in Jeeps.

This would only be a valid argument if no Ford or General Motors vehicles were available in direct competition with Jeeps. But there are, in addition to a wide variety of imports.

Windows simply has no competition. And as a result, the price of Windows remains artificially high.

I am no fan of big government, and I have little sympathy for the intrusion of the federal government into private business practices.

But in this case, it may have justification for reigning in the monopolistic practices of Microsoft.

Iver Mindel


Three cheers for Jeff Jacoby's "Microsoft monopoly made by the people."

What a straightforward, factual appraisal of the Justice Department lawsuit against Microsoft Corp.

How refreshing to read an article putting the situation in the proper perspective.

Mr. Jacoby has that rare combination of intelligence and common-sense. One can only guess that he is not a political science major.

Roger A. Witschger


Supreme Court ruling protects right to arms

On Oct. 27, you chose to publish two letters whose writers apparently believe that, contrary to the expressed intent of the Framers, the Second Amendment was not intended to protect the right of the people to bear arms.

Further, your respondents believe courts have never protected this as a right of the people.

I would like to direct their attention (and yours) to the case United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, in which the Supreme Court acknowledged that the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

Robert A. Rudolph


The letter ("Twisting Constitution to suit the purposes of gun rights boosters," Oct. 27) states that the Supreme Court has "many times" agreed that the Second Amendment only guarantees the right to bear arms in a "well regulated militia" and not to individuals. It would be surprising if the writer could cite even one case where the court has so held.

A 1990 Supreme Court decision regarding searches and seizures confirmed that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right, held by "the people" -- a term, employed in the Preamble and the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments, that refer to all "persons who are part of a national community."

As the writer states, "It is high time for the myths to end." She and others of like mind must realize that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not confer any rights upon anyone. They affirm the pre-existence of certain rights already held by the people.

Don Laughery


Build bigger Metro subway instead of sports stadiums

People say there is no Santa Claus. I beg to differ. Santa is the Maryland taxpayer.

The trouble is, many times we don't get much for our money. Most states might build one stadium, but we got tagged with two of them. The most recent one cost almost a quarter of a billion dollars and under the best conditions, our purple and black team might use it 12 times a year. Where is the return on the investment?

Had the money been used to build an efficient Metro subway system to reach places all over the metro area, tens of thousands more people could use it every day. The dividends would be less congestion on our highways, less strain on the limited parking facilities and less pollution in our skies.

If we are to be successful in attracting the Summer Olympics 14 or so years down the road, we'll need a good transportation system to move visitors, as well as the tourists who will visit Baltimore in the coming years.

Steven E. Santacroce


Campus for the poor would not solve problem

Unfortunately, many of the small businesses near Our Daily Bread want the city's largest soup kitchen to relocate ("In Baltimore, renewal means moving the poor," Oct. 27). They claim that the homeless keep customers away from their stores and commit crimes in the area.

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