On this live edition of First Ring Daily, Slack files a complaint, Xbox has their event, and it’s a Friday.
<p>Hi, were does it end? Leverage it not illegal neither is offering apps for free. In my mind I guess it becomes illegal when it stiffs competition and drags innovation down.</p><p><br></p><p>The Netscape vs IE its a good example. It basically destroyed Netscape, a browser with 80% marketshare. What happened next? Stagnation, absolute tech stagnation In the web browser space while IE users soar … and let’s face it it was not really that good of a tech. Some customers need to spend millions to detach their LOB solutions from IE towards better technology as MS deviated from standards locking in implementations. Hey it was free also right? One might have criticized EU but it can be argued that one of the reasons why we probably use a better browser than IE in Windows is partially down to EU legal stance on the matter. The question made by Thurrott does it change anything?, could be the same back than. It does change!</p><p><br></p><p>Slack its not messaging. It’s a communication platform that aimed to be better than mail. At lest between co-workers. They basically cracked this mission. That was not the aim of Skype or Google Meet, Zoom or Office.</p><p><br></p><p>For me this discussion it’s beyond Microsoft. </p><p><br></p><p>I think the entire Industry has a perception problem. As a software engineer I tend do see all this stuff as software. You know code running that can do whatever we think it needs to do… Software its extremely malleable matter, we can integrate and bundle anything. But is it just that? Or have we have we reached a level of maturity in our understading of the digital surface were we can actually make a distinction between apps and services at a level of abstraction that is far more fine grained at the business level. So much so that we can identify Industries (Music, Movies, Communication, Publishing, Retail, so on and so forth). To the point were we can see apps as what they truly are beyond and above the fluid nature of the digital space.</p><p><br></p><p>If we do, than Microsoft its not just a software company, its a digital conglomerate. Probably the largest in the world. But MS its not alone, so is Apple, Google, Amazon … These are not just software companies, devices companies or whatever. They in fact operate in multiple Industries and Markets and in some cases become competitors in that market … as an unified mass.</p><p><br></p><p>Is this a problem or not? It depends. But this thing needs to be regulated somehow in my view to empower competition, innovation and quality of service. Because products and services tend to deteriorate once the market is conquered or objectives are met.</p><p><br></p><p>The idea that intertwining components into a mass necessarily leads to better products and serviices its an illusion!!! What’s leads to better services and products is If business viability depends on its merits as close as possible and competition. Look at the Surface line,, Windows Phone …. they are bellow expectations of many considering the builder, the issue is that ir relies strongly on leverage. The reason why iOS became what it became was because Apple future depended on it. The reason why Chrome became what it became its because the Ad business could not be at the mercê of IE! Why is Spotify so good and Groove its gone? Same thing. Conglomerates basically bend this realty by providing the illusion that its not the case.</p><p><br></p><p>Maybe I’m talking nonsense, but have a look at Netscape vs IE. Look at how when MS was forced to put aside Windows Media player and MS Books it suddently lost interest over it. Why? Because it could not use the leverage, so the business around these apps had no user centric mission, was about the conglomerate. The same with Apple. Should Apple be allowed to bundle Apple Music as it does? Google the same way, its been checked over forcing others to bundled Google Play with their software and services (including Ad Services) ….</p><p><br></p><p>I’m a heavy Apple devices and services user. I really like their solutions. Still once the dazzlement over these company unique value proposition passes, it’s time to have a look at it as a conglomerate. To me its impossible to pass a blind eye on Teams vs Office 365 … and criticize Apple. It is indeed impossible to advocate a separation of concerns in the Microsoft case without applying the same measure to Apple. Instead looking at each case, maybe we can look at the problem as a whole and enforce some kind of legislation over freely intertwining distinct components if not industries into one mass. Maybe the Software Industry and Device is no longer an Industry. Software its just matter over which business in multiple Industries are built.</p><p> </p><p>The tech to separate concerns in a way that things can be plugged in already exists. But even if applied it does not mean that it’s enough. There are many ways pressure the customer into a solution when one owns the platform over which distinct components can be plugged in.</p><p><br></p><p>Food for thought.</p>
<blockquote><em><a href="#556704">In reply to nbplopes:</a></em></blockquote><p><br></p><p>I completely agree. I personally don’t like slack but the problem goes beyond this specific matter. Probably what Microsoft does is not illegal but it does harm competition and that means that the law is not adequate. Bundling different services together for a lump sum should not be allowed. Businesses should be be able to pay 2 dollars a month for word if they want to. Maybe Microsoft would even increase their revenue by offering a menu of services with an individual cost for each service. But leveraging their dominant position kills innovation. Apple is doing exactly the same thing with music and with the App Store. Google and Facebook… god save us all. We currently don’t have laws that are able to address “modern” problems and they are urgently required</p>