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I think what you're missing is that network effects ("standardization") have intrinsic value. Is it "stealing" when that value accrues to its creator? It is true that it can lead to anticompetitive behavior and eventually dated, mediocre products, but I think that's a secondary phenomenon.

Microsoft is a business built entirely on network effects -- both their operating system business (everyone developed for Windows because it had all the users; it had all of the users because it had the most applications) and their office suite business (Office was taught in community colleges because it made you desirable to the maximum number of employers; businesses standardized on it because it was easy to hire workers that already knew it, and because they could exchange files with other businesses.)

Microsoft enriched itself enormously through network effects -- and I would argue, enriched society as well, compared to an alternate timeline where operating systems and application software were fragmented and software and skills were not portable. Though I do wish they'd done a better job with the win32 API.

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