eWeek Predicts Mozilla will Challenge Internet Explorer

Monday July 28th, 2003

In his latest opinion piece for eWeek, Jim Rapoza tackles a favourite topic of tech columnists recently: are the Browser Wars coming back? Rapoza thinks that they are and says Microsoft's recent decision to only provide enhancements to Internet Explorer via Windows upgrades could leave an opening for alternative browsers. Mozilla, Rapoza argues, is well-placed to take advantage of this opportunity with its up-to-date and innovative technology.

#36 Re: Re: Re: Welcome to free captialism.

by napolj2

Tuesday July 29th, 2003 8:31 PM

You are replying to this message

"Need" is a very subjective term. By today's standards, medicine from 100 years ago was barbaric; no one's medical needs were being met. In another 100 years, today's medicine will probably be seen as primitive; our "needs" are not being met. New drugs are initially very expensive but after the R&D is paid for and the patents run out they become cheaper (just like any other technology). Gradually progress is made as long as the R&D is paid for.

Suppose you came up with a cure for cancer, but it would cost $20 million per patient. Sure people need the cure, but if no one can afford it, it is useless. And there is certainly no way you could afford to give it away for free or that the government could afford subsidize it. There is always more that could be done to better peoples' health. We could give everyone yearly full-body CAT scans and hire their own personal trainers and nutrition experts. Unfortunately, at some point you are forced to stop. There is a limit to how many goods and services an economy can produce at any time. This is just harsh reality.

Look at it this way: suppose you have a family. You could make them more secure by buying one of those ADT security systems and putting fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in every room. Yet most people don't. Does this make them bad providers? No, it just means they made a decision that the benefit provided by these things did not justify their cost, or that the money could be used better someplace else.

This is all kind of related to what happens with Mozilla. Lots of people complain that unless Mozilla gets feature X or fixes bug Y, then the project is garbage and they won't use it. Yet our developers can only do so much for each release; X and Y will have to wait a few months. If you forced the developers to do everything by the next release, mistakes would be made and the developers would become burned out and discouraged.

"I'm sure that the poor and elderly are talking solice in that fact."

My comments weren't meant to bring anyone solice. If society decides that helping the poor and elderly pay for drugs is important enough, then it can vote in a tax increase to pay for their drugs. But national healthcare is another issue.

"You'll never get an honest answer from a drug company about how prices are set and why they are so high beyond the standard "high R&D costs lead to high prices". "

R&D is a valid reason. The true cost of software is not the cost of the CD it comes on but the cost of the labor that went in to produce it. Similarly, the true cost of medicine is not the cost of manufacturing a pill but the cost of years of research, tests, failed drugs, and clinical trials. If it costs you $800 million to make a drug that 1 million people will buy, then unless you make at least $800 per person, you will probably go bankrupt. You can afford to be chariable with a few people, but not everyone.

"Also saying that they charge more in the USA because they "have to make up for other markets" is a joke."

This was not my idea; it is from an article I just read in the Wall Street Journal. I'll attach it if anyone wants.

"There is nothing you can say that will justify the current situation with regard to prescription drugs. Until stronger government controls are applied the drugs companies will continue to gouge and many people who need care will go without."

To be honest, I don't know the exact numbers that are involved in drug profits, and unless you do then your rant proves nothing. My main points are: (1) just because something costs a lot doesn't mean there is price gouging (2) corporations are not all evil (3) price controls are not the simple solutions people think they are. They can ruin a market and should be applied cautiously if ever. (4) there is a lot of economic theory and evidence showing that government attempts to mess with the free market often backfire and make things worse.