Fighting over books

I recently read Christopher Wright's take on Hachette v Amazon fight over ebook prices, and agree with just about everything he says (there are a few things I have no opinion on, because, for instance, I've never used, or even heard of, ClearSpace).

One thing that bothers me, though, is a qualification on his central thesis (emphasis his):
For those of you unwilling to go through 18 years of comic archives, here’s the short version: every company in the computer industry behaves like a sociopath. They will do good things for you for as long as there’s profit in it, but as soon as it reaches the point where they don’t have to, they immediately flip to abusing you, relentlessly, all the while telling you there’s nothing they can do about it, and it’s probably all your fault.

The qualifier is "in the computer industry". It's all companies (or at least all publicly-traded ones). Take a look, in particular, at the telecomm industry, for some other examples. Or the insurance industry, particularly before the ACA forced them to clean up a few of the more egregiously sociopathic behaviors they exhibited (not to get too sidelined, but while I don't think the ACA is great, it's an important step in the right direction). Or the banking industry, with how they tried to crash the entire global economy. It's a widespread problem, and the DoJ antitrust division should be doing more about it. And that definitely fills in my opinion on AT&T trying to buy DirectTV and Comcast buying Time-Warner Cable.

Anyway, to get back to the specifics, Amazon's monopoly-seeking practices are why I thought the DoJ was completely barking up the wrong tree in going after Apple under anti-trust law for its Most Favored Nation (MFN) contractual requirements.

And why I refuse to buy non-free Kindle books; they're not only proprietary formats, but also protected by DRM. Those are both monopolistic practices that I refuse to endorse. The DRM also means that you never actually own an e-book. Amazon can (and has, in at least two cases) revoked access to books that people had "bought".

Also, I have a small defense of Microsoft; their file formats were just straight memory dumps of what the program used. This made disk access very fast for reading and writing, but also made for a very f-ed up "file format". So the format changed whenever MS's internal data structures changed. So it wasn't always a matter of trying to throw off competitors. Maybe even never, although I'm disinclined to get MS the benefit of the doubt.

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