[-toronto-] Nearly finished Richard Branson's
[-toronto-] Nearly finished Richard Branson's autobiography: "Losing My Virginity". It is an entertaining read that details how he grew the Virgin empire and brand into the giant it is today. It also details his troubles with British Airways when starting his airline, Virgin Atlantic. Granted, it is only Branson's side of the story presented in the book, but he is very candid about many personal events in the book and I see no reason to believe why he would not be about the BA-Virgin Atlantic conflict. In any case, BA employed some despicable tactics and leveraged its monopoly to crush any startup airlines in Britain. They almost succeeded with Virgin, but Branson ended up winning an out-of-court settlement from BA.
Sound like any ongoing court cases we know? Up until now, I'd always thought of the Microsoft plaintiffs as a bunch of whiny yahoos who wanted to use any advantage they could find to gain market share from MS when in reality, many of them weren't employing smart business practices--see Netscape's full rewrite of their browser's codebase resulting in their death in the browser war as an example. I never believed (and still don't) that simply because a powerful company like MS exists, creative innovation everywhere is stifled--humans have a need to create and innovate, to make their lives better and easier. As I see it, the issue with MS is that their are so many components integrated into their OS that the unwashed masses will never experience the *cough* wonders of AOL, Netscape, etc, because their MS OS provides all that they need. I never had issues with integration of components into the OS, but the backstabbing dirty tricks used by BA makes me wonder about what MS has done behind closed doors.... and in fact, what goes on behind the scenes at all levels of business, politics, etc.
in any case, I highly recommend Branson's book. It is an easy read, entertaining, informative, and inspiring.