The Economist on the Newspaper Industry
The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson

Stephen Wildstrom: What’s Your Point?

Stephen, I just read your latest BusinessWeek article, In Praise of a Closed Market. I don’t get it. Honestly, I can’t think of a single monopoly situation that’s better for me than an open market. The cable company comes to mind. Don’t get me started there…these guys have been ripping me off for years. I won’t drop it and move to DSL because, well, that’s just swapping one monopoly out for another!

You also complain about the competition in the PC hardware market and how that’s not a good thing. Huh? Who’s bothered that desktops and laptops have become commodity items? I for one am pretty darned happy to only have to pay a few hundred bucks for a laptop. You don’t like the fact that it means the options and built-in components are limited because of the lower prices? Spend a few bucks more and get whatever upgrade you want! Better yet, go to and have them build one just for you, at rock bottom prices. To paraphrase Rod Stewart, “if loving this is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!”

Speaking of Dell, you note that they’re on the low end of the customer service reputation scale while Apple is on the other, higher end. Talk about ironic, shortly after your article hit newsstands both of these companies got scorched (no pun intended) by Sony and are in the midst of massive laptop battery recalls. I wonder whether customers for either company would give them high satisfaction ratings at this point…


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