Saturday, August 17, 2002

John sends this article denying that VHS format locked consumers into an inferior technology. People often give the VHS v. Beta story as proof that network effects can lead to a bad result. I am collecting a list of myths like this. It is still sketchy, so send me ideas.

Some people claim that Beta had better picture quality, but you couldn't tell the difference on a typical TV set. It was VHS that had superior technology in what mattered to consumers -- the tapes held twice as much video.

The article goes on to apply the analogy to Microsoft and its antitrust case. The author works for a Microsoft PR firm. I just don't see the connection with the antitrust case. It is not a crime for Microsoft to have large market share, and whether Windows is the best OS on the market is not really an issue. Microsoft was convicted of using certain illegal tactics to protect and extend its OS monopoly. A remedy is needed to stop the illegal conduct.

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