Re: Computer Economics Was: Re: Illth

From: John Conover <>
Subject: Re: Computer Economics Was: Re: Illth
Date: 3 Aug 1999 22:29:11 -0000

Peter Nelson writes:
> Dan Clore wrote in message <>...
> >Peter Nelson wrote:
> >> In Microsoft's case, reliability is NOT that important to their
> >> customers, so by creating products which crash frequently
> >> they are behaving rationally.   In fact there may be more to
> >> it than that.  Many Microsoft product users don't mind crashes
> >> so much because they are resigned to them:  they actually
> >> EXPECT PC's to crash and hang every so often; they don't
> >> expect them to be as reliable as cars or microwave ovens
> >> or telephones.
> >
> >If Microsoft's customers have become resigned to products that crash and
> >hang up all the time, perhaps that is because they have not seen
> >alternative products that do not do so.
> Sure, but so what?    The bottom line is that Microsoft is
> behaving rationally because they know their average customer
> is NOT going to go out and seek alternative computing experiences.

Sure. If you have beer with many of the leading technologist, and ask
them what part hype plays in the marketing of technology, almost
unanimously, they say that the function of marketing in any high tech
company is to keep the customer base stupid.

The euphemism usually used is "controlling the customer."

It is a sore subject many technologists. Unfortunately, the concepts
of fiduciary responsibility makes it legally rational to the point of
being a mandatory operating practice.

Remember, innovation is a euphemism for features, not necessarily
functionality, because most customers don't know the difference.


BTW, how many revolutionary innovations in computer science have come
out of MS. I mean of the magnitude of the contributions of J. Von
Neumann, D. Knuth, or D. Englebart, etc.? MS is very good at sales,
though. That it did bring to the party. And, B. Gates made a lot of
money off of the things that D. Knuth and D. Englebart did, who made
very little. I suppose it is a statement of what high tech really is.


John Conover,,

Copyright © 1999 John Conover, All Rights Reserved.
Last modified: Sun Nov 14 00:01:40 PST 1999 $Id: 990803152926.26884.html,v 1.0 2001/11/17 23:05:50 conover Exp $
Valid HTML 4.0!