The punishment of Microsoft may deter bullies The...

LETTERS

May 14, 2000

The punishment of Microsoft may deter bullies

The recent letter "Antitrust suits don't serve the public's interest" (April 13) repeated the oft-stated belief that "smarter, faster ... cheaper" competitors could have won the day against software giant Microsoft.

Leaving aside the implication that Microsoft products have been the smartest, fastest, cheapest software solutions created, the fallacy in this free-market model is obvious: Consumers must first learn about a product before they can choose to use it.

Microsoft's own internal documents (not the "whining executives of Microsoft's competitors") showed that it aggressively used its dominant market position to try to prevent consumers from gaining access to competitors' products.

No software maker could even come close to Microsoft's distribution and marketing power, which is perfectly legal and appropriate in a free-market system.

But when company executives decided to strong-arm vendors and distributors into limiting consumer's access to competing products, they didn't just cross a clear-cut moral and legal line.

They also suggested their own doubt about the ability of Microsoft's products to compete, even on a grossly favorable playing field.

Regardless of its remedial value, a strong punishment should be swiftly implemented against Microsoft and its complicit executives.

If this serves only to dissuade other potential market bullies, it will accomplish the most important mission of antitrust law.

The history of U.S. commerce has certainly shown us that, without vigilant and forceful efforts to maintain open markets, the concept of a free-market is nothing but a capitalist myth.

Steve Shepherd, Millersville

Baltic war victims have been forgotten

With all of the monuments being built to remember one ethnic group's experience of the Holocaust ("An achievement not yet built," May 2) we need to be reminded of the suffering of many others who have been forgotten.

No monuments are being built to remember the suffering of the Baltic States, the Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians, but we suffered under both the Communists and the Nazis.

However, since we only totalled about 8 million people we have never carried political clout.

Nothing to date has been restored to my family, but who cares about some Lutheran Latvians who also happen to be victims of World War II.

George A Jakovics, Annapolis

House speaker's spirit appears to need renewal

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. claims to be "spiritually wounded" over criticism of his handling of local issues in Western Maryland ("House Speaker Taylor is hit with unprecedented criticism," May 7) .

Considering his support for the proposed race track in Little Orleans, perhaps the more apt phrase would be spiritually bankrupt.

A spiritual person could not support the destruction of one of the most pristine forests in Maryland.

Maybe Mr. Taylor needs to spend a day or two backpacking or canoeing in Greenridge State Forest, so he can learn the real meaning of the word "spiritual." Alyson Harkins, Severn

Since Castro hates us, why relax the embargo?

Apparently writer Peter Kornbluh has difficulty recognizing the real cause of Fidel Castro's critical economic problems -- communism ("Clinton's chance to change Cuban policy," April 30).

It didn't work in Russia and will not work in Cuba.

The U.S. embargo on Cuban trade does not prevent Mr. Castro from having commercial relations with other countries.

However, now that Mr. Castro no longer receives those huge subsidies once provided by the Soviet Union, his country lacks food, medicines and other basic necessities.

Undoubtedly, however, Mr. Castro's bureaucrats are well provided for.

Like so many liberals, the writer ignores Mr. Castro's demonstrated hatred of the United States and of all things capitalistic.

Let's remind him that Mr. Castro invited Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to establish missile bases on the island aimed at us.

In light of that fact, why should we do anything that might prolong Mr. Castro's dictatorship?

President Clinton has made some egregious foreign policy errors. Removing the Cuban embargo would only compound those mistakes.

Let's hope that he will do nothing to prolong Mr. Castro's rule.

We Americans should recall that prior to Mr. Castro's revolution, Cuba was despite prolonged political corruption and numerous political changes, fairly prosperous.

For my part, I cheer the Cuban-American population's opposition to lifting the embargo on Cuba.

Let the bad times roll for Mr. Castro -- who, if he were able, would bury us.

Gil Crandall, Annapolis

The marching moms won't stop the killing

New `gun laws' will only give criminals new laws to break. New jails and tougher sentencing will do more to curb "gun violence" than a hundred new laws.

Responsible gun owners are the only ones who can keep their children from getting hold of their guns.

Registration and licensing will not stop people from killing each other -- no matter how many moms march.

Tim Garrity, Glen Burnie

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