Canon printer and TurboPrint

Jonathan McKeown j.mckeown at
Fri May 29 13:50:49 UTC 2009

[Sorry for the excessive quoting - I couldn't decide which bits to take out]

On Friday 29 May 2009 12:48:00 Jerry wrote:
> On Fri, 29 May 2009 09:34:36 +0200
> Jonathan McKeown <j.mckeown at> wrote:
> >On Thursday 28 May 2009 22:52:47 Jerry wrote:
> >> Did you ever bother to consider that if the printer manufacturers
> >> actually formed a consensus on a printer language, some third world
> >> county or the EU would probably sue them. Nothing I have seen in 20
> >> years equals the audacity of the EU. As long as no 'standard' no
> >> matter how arbitrary, stupid or counter-productive exists, they are
> >> in theory safe from the EU. Besides, nothing stifles development as
> >> tightly as being bound to an arbitrary 'standard'.
> >
> >What a breathtakingly stupid remark.
> >
> >The EU has acted against two companies (Microsoft and Intel) who have
> >used illegal business methods to protect and extend their monopolies
> >and suppress competition.
> >
> >Or are you suggesting that a format or protocol which is implemented
> >by several different companies, allowing vendors to compete fairly on
> >other grounds (price, features, quality, ... ) while protecting
> >consumers by making it possible for them to move from one vendor to
> >another, is somehow a worse idea than a proprietary format or protocol
> >which is forced into a market-dominating position by illegal tactics
> >such as paying manufacturers extra to incorporate it, or penalising
> >them financially for providing competing products?
> The concept behind the EU is socialism, pure and simple. It attempts to
> create an artificial playing field that allows the incompetent to
> compete with the motivated. It forces those who create new technology
> to share it, usually sans monetary compensation, with common bottom
> feeders. A free, open market is the way to encourage development and
> new ideas and technology. Not some pathetic, socialistic concept.
> >If that's the case, why is no-one trying to use the courts to prevent
> >the use of ODF, a published standard which is now used by several
> >companies and Free Software projects to provide a common format for
> >documents?
> >
> >Once a company dominates a particular market it's held to a different
> >standard than other companies in that market - because the power of
> >the monopoly can be used not only to prevent competition in the
> >original market, but to extend the market domination into new markets,
> >by techniques like product tying, distributing at below cost
> >(effectively drawing subsidy from the original monopoly product) until
> >competitors are driven out of business, and so on.
> A company has the right to disperse their product as they see fit. I
> know a socialist like you finds that abhorrent; however, it is never the
> less true. Tell me, if I wanted to sell you a $300 thousand dollar
> Ferrari for $10, would you: A: complain to the police or what ever legal
> authority you feel so fit to complain to; B: slam $10 in my hand in a
> heart beat? I think we know the answer. You are a hypocrite.
> Has it ever occurred to you how a company grows and becomes successful?
> I know, in your world it is by using the Government to squash
> competition; however, in a truly free society, it is by hard word and
> giving the consumer what they want at a price they are willing to pay.
> Basic business 101.
> >Microsoft has been convicted of doing all these things, in US courts,
> >in courts in Asia, and in courts in Europe. These are matters of fact,
> >not opinion.
> >
> >Intel has been convicted of many of these things in courts in Asia and
> >in Europe.
> >
> >The fact that the US system is too supine to take action against these
> >companies doesn't make the EU ``arrogant''. Let's not forget why Unix
> >took off and expanded the way it did: once upon a time the US courts
> >did take antitrust seriously, and prevented AT&T using its telco
> >monopoly to expand into market domination of the computer business.
> The spinelessness of the American court system is that they do not take
> legal action against European countries that practice reverse
> discrimination, or the outright breach of copyright laws, etc. I know,
> you socialists also abhor copyright laws. The concept of an individual
> actually benefiting from his/her hard work and not having to share it
> with every scum sucker who comes begging at his door disturbs you.

Whoa. I don't think that level of personal attack is appropriate or acceptable 
behaviour in a public forum. (I call it attack because you clearly regard 
socialist as a swear word. I'm not a socialist but I don't regard it as an 
insult. I do regard hypocrite as an insult which I choose to ignore.)

Your first paragraph, the one beginning ``the concept behind the EU is 
socialism, pure and simple'', is essentially the Microsoft party line: the 
socialist EU wants to steal our hard work and give it away to people who 
can't stand the heat of competition. The reality is almost the exact 
opposite: the EU is using competition law to try and restore a level playing 
field, despite the best efforts of companies like Microsoft.

Before we forget, the US Government did the same thing: it took Microsoft to 
court for distorting the market, and a federal court found Microsoft guilty, 
required them to publish their protocols to correct the damage they had done 
to marketplace competition, and imposed a supervision order to check their 
compliance (which has recently been extended yet again, due to Microsoft's 
resistance to complying in any timely or meaningful way).

Note that carefully: it was the US Government and the US federal courts, not 
the ``socialist'' EU Commission and courts. The only difference, when a 
similar case was considered in the EU's jurisdiction, was the imposition of a 
monetary fine - still less drastic than the original US trial judge's 
proposal to break the company up.

Even a free market requires some regulation of business practices. For 
example, most countries have laws preventing manufacturers adding toxic 
melamine to milk powder to fool protein tests and make the milk powder appear 
to be of a higher quality and therefore higher value. It didn't stop at least 
one Chinese company doing exactly that and making quite a lot of money before 
they got caught (by ``socialists'' in other countries testing products made 
with milk powder to make sure the manufacturers had complied with the law).

One area where regulation is important is market dominance (or monopoly, or 
competition, or antitrust, or whatever it may be called in other 
jurisdictions). Once a company has a certain level of market share (75% is a 
commonly accepted definition of dominance) it's possible for that company to 
give up competing and simply use its market power to prevent anyone else 
entering the market and competing with them successfully.

It can also use its dominance to take over related markets without ever 
competing for a place in those markets. For example, if you control the 
desktop client market, and you refuse to support anyone else's client-server 
protocols and won't document your own, people are forced to buy your server 
OS regardless of quality or price - you have leveraged your desktop monopoly 
into a server market dominance without competing.

I'm not suggesting that all companies that establish market dominance 
immediately stop competing in a business sense and start acting more like 
gangsters: but I do think there should be laws to control the ones who do. 
There is plenty of evidence in all the various antitrust trials Microsoft has 
been involved in, on almost every continent bar the one I'm on (you do know 
what a .za email address implies, I take it?), that Microsoft is one of them.

To take a couple of your other points: no, I wouldn't buy your Ferrari ``in a 
heartbeat''. Would you buy a set of speakers from a man in a van who ``had 
some surplus stock'' and wanted to get rid of it at well below market value 
rather than take it back to the warehouse? I've refused that offer a number 
of times. People don't sell anything at well below its market value without 
some form of ulterior motive; and it's not strictly true to say that
> A company has the right to disperse their product as they see fit.

For example, there are strict laws in most places governing the sale of goods 
at below cost (dumping), because the ulterior motive in this case is usually 
to eliminate competition by making it impossible for them to stay in 
business. Apart from anything else, the directors usually have a legal 
obligation to the shareholders to maximise profit. Sell at a loss and make it 
up on volume is not a business strategy that's likely to stand up in court in 
a shareholder suit.

I'm not sure where copyright laws suddenly sprang into the equation, but I can 
assure you, as someone who works with Free software, I'm a firm believer in 
copyright laws. I don't write much code but it's copyright that prevents 
people stealing what I do write.

I've now spent considerably more of my working day answering this than I 
should have done. Please think about what I've written and do some research 
before you come back with another tirade of insults.


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