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Did Somebody Really Call Microsoft "The Great Underdog"?


What a world we've created, where Microsoft is an "underdog" and not having legs is an "unfair advantage."


In the UK's Times Online, Industry Standard co-founder Jonathan Weber called Microsoft (MSFT) "the great underdog," and says it has "found itself more or less helpless in the face of Google (GOOG)"

He ends his article with this:

"Microsoft can make a nice living for a long time selling software to businesses and consumers, but that isn't where the action is these days. And strange as this would have sounded ten years ago, the industry needs Microsoft to be a viable player in the Web 2.0 world, lest we all be bit players in the universe according to Google."

The great underdog? Microsoft?

On April 26, Microsoft reported quarterly revenue of $14.4 billion, net income of $9.3 billion. That's $55 million a day.

Google's quarterly net is $1 billion. Microsoft blows past that in just under three weeks.

We use Google's Gmail for staying in touch, Google News for keeping abreast of what's happening in the world, Froogle for price comparison, Google Maps for directions, Google Talk for, well, talking, and Google Earth for looking at Denzel Washington's house.

Denzel Washington's house

A couple of years ago, Susan Wojcicki, Google's director of product placement, was quoted as saying, "[Using Google], I was able to figure out what my ex-boyfriend's wife looks like. That was really satisfying."

Then, there are the Google-haters.

Richard M. Smith, a former officer of the Privacy Foundation, said "I think Google is the biggest privacy invader on the planet, no doubt about it."

The Ludwig von Mises Institute reports that 6.7 million "Hate Google" links have sprung up.

One of those haters is none other than Microsoft. Just before Google bought DoubleClick, Microsoft urged regulators to put the kibosh on the plan for antitrust concerns.

Microsoft-no stranger to allegations of unfair competition-contended that the DoubleClick deal would hurt competition in the web advertising market.

William Anderson, a professor of economics at Frostburg State University, wrote a paper on the Google backlash for the von Mises Institute.

He said:

"The biggest current complaint against Google is that it is just 'too big.' We hear things like 'Google controls 80 percent of the market' for search engines, yet that statement is nonsense. Google does not 'control' anything on the Internet. People have to choose to avail themselves of Google's services. No one is forced to use the Internet at all and, thus, can avoid Google altogether if that is their choice."

Anderson continued:

"These things should be obvious to anyone, yet antitrust law is not based upon what is obvious. In fact, antitrust law does not even constitute good law, since the violations of the law, such as 'restraint of trade' or 'monopolizing a market' are not readily defined. 'Recognizing' a 'monopoly' depends upon how one chooses to delineate the term. That fact alone should make one recognize the political nature of antitrust 'enforcement.'

The vagueness of antitrust law makes it easy for government to heap abuse upon those firms that are out of favor at any given time, as no real legal proof is needed for the courts to act against the alleged 'monopolist.' All that is needed is an allegation and a friendly judge, and prosecutors and the news media will perform the rest of the job."

The point Anderson made was simple:

"[Google's] success is driven entirely by the consumer's evaluation of its quality. Google innovates but it is the market that renders the verdict."

He went on to quote Dominick Armentano, a leading expert on the subject of antitrust:

"Any objective study of antitrust cases would reveal that the laws have never been used to protect consumers from monopoly power. On the contrary, they have been used by government and private plaintiffs (90% of all antitrust cases are private) to attack and destroy successful companies while protecting their inefficient competitors."

Dominick Armentano

The antitrust laws in this country are purportedly about "fairness." A "level playing field."

Better, more innovative technology that more people want to use: fair or unfair?

Before you answer, keep reading.

A 20 year-old South African sprinter named Oscar Pistorius-known as "The Fastest Thing on No Legs"-won the 100 and 200 meter races at the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, England on Sunday. Pistorius was born without the fibula in his lower legs and had both legs amputated below the knee at 11 months old.

Now, he wants to compete in the Olympics.

Oscar Pistorius

But the International Association of Athletics Federations has moved to block him from the Olympics, citing a new ruling banning "technical aids."

The "technical aids"? Pistorius's prosthetic legs.

The IAFF believes the technology of his prosthetic legs, called Cheetahs and made by an Icelandic company called Ossur (ICEX: OSSR), may give him an unfair advantage over runners with real legs.

Pistorius says it's not the prostheses that win races.

It's him.

"I train harder than any of the other guys do," he told the BBC.

"I put in more hours. I eat better. I sleep better. I rest better and, overall, I am more diligent. I don't see myself as disabled, and I think it's the guy that wants to win the hardest that gets it."

Harder work, more diligence, no legs: fair or unfair?

What a world we've created, where Microsoft is an "underdog" and not having legs is an "unfair advantage."

Go Oscar.

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