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Chris

I'm curious. Why do you compare something like a market cap with something like GDP? GDP is how much a country produces. A market cap is just how much a public company is technically worth if you add up all the shares by the current price of the stock. They have little to do with one another. The total "value" of South Africa is quite a bit larger than it's GDP.

Normally, I don't mind these types of mistakes, but when you're complaining about Microsoft misusing words to try to redefine the argument, and you're doing the same thing, it's worth noting.

mtg

@Chris

This is a comparison which is more common than you think. The idea is to compare your annual income (that'd be represented by the GDP for a country) to what you can effectively buy with this wealth (here MSFT hence its market CAP).

Here is an article from the Washington Post that details the idea:

Washington Post - Saturday, July 17, 1999; Page E01

If you emptied the wallet and pocketbook of every person in the country, turned upside-down the register in everystore, smashed the piggy banks, looked under the mattresses and behind the couches, and plucked every dollar from every foreign black market, you'd end up with $450.6 billion in loot.

That still wouldn't be enough to buy Microsoft Corp. The software company ended today with a market value of $507 billion, the first time any company has passed the half-trillion level.

Only 10 countries have economies larger than Microsoft. The gross domestic product of the entire United States didn't hit $500 billion until 1960, when William H. Gates III was 5 years old.

By David Streitfeld
Washington Post Staff Writer

crashsystems

Beware of anyone who refuses to use well defined terminology in a debate. Great post!

Dark Phoenix

You know what interests me about all this? The following points:

1) Jason Matusow keeps arguing about governments not mandating what technology
should be used by people. This appears to be a 180-degree turnaround from prior
Microsoft arguments, until you remember which sides of these arguments Microsoft
has been on. The fact is, Microsoft LIKES government mandates on technology,
but only if it requires them to do nothing to claim the market. The idea
mandate for them would be "buy only Microsoft".

2) I think MTG has missed something very important in the fourth point. You're
rightly focusing on the ridiculous claim that the number of proprietary companies
show that proprietary solutions are better (um, there are more proprietary
companies because proprietary development puts the creation of capital before
all else, and businessmen LIKE that idea), but missing this very important point:
"The most successful OSS companies have found a way to
"hybridize" their solutions to in some way secure the uniqueness of
their work while still tapping into the collaborative development
community." What's important about this? This is an almost verbatim copy
of Novell's description of themselves in relation to the FLOSS community in
general; in short, Microsoft is trying to push focus on companies like Novell
(who cut deals with them and are willing to harm the community to make money)
over companies like Red Hat, because in that situation THEY win too.

mtg

@Dark Phoenix

Well I tried to answer the hybridization stance by showing Novell's growth stemmed from Linux-only systems.

But somewhat it doesn't really solve the problem since hybridization can go both ways: once Novell's market is deemed large enough by Microsoft, Novell might start to hybridize its Linux installed base w/ Microsoft as well.

Just a comment on your conclusion : this is precisely the MS "evangelism" strategy.

They could never win thanks to any "fair technological advantage" so they're now putting time and money only in politics, FUD, etc.

I'm not saying they're evil. As you said, it's just another big company.

Cf. http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/Comes-3096.pdf

Toby

They're pulling the same stunts among the more easily-led (apparently?) countries of the EU: http://www.microsoft.com/emea/presscentre/pressreleases/BallmerInCzechRepublicPR_23052008.mspx

N.B. They *are* evil.

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