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May 4, 2000
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What I Don't Get
What makes these arguments about MSFT so difficult to not only understand but to tolerate is this: the only complaints about this company comes from people in the industry who want to convince us that a.) MSFT never innovated a thing and b.) if it weren't for MSFT this field would be so much more innovative.
This is rather incredible because it hasn't been the consumer who has driven the need for more bandwidth, better graphics, a more user friendly GUI, voice recognition, a cheap operating system, better hardware, better software, bigger hard drives, etc, etc. Most consumers had no idea how technology could better their lives. Whoever thought that you could use the computer instead of your phone (telephony?) who ever thought that e-mail could become universal. Who ever thought that a 300 baud modem would not be enough or that Graphical interfaces could be fully utilized on the 'net. Who ever realized that html programming and pearl code could turn basically anyone into a "web designer" and web site developer?
I'm not sure how this field could be anymore innovative. In fact, in many cases it innovates too quickly for the average consumer who find themselves with obsolete computers after only two years. Before MSFT and Windows 98, in fact, you could count on paying at least $ 2,500 for a PC and, if you were a professional, investing at least $ 5- 10,000. in all the software and hardware, etc. that you'd need.
Today, you have no such problem. Prices have dropped, we can do more things on the internet and on our computers than anyone ever thought of, no less dreamed. (Wow, my computer is a juke box, it's a radio, it's a TV, it's a DVD.) What on earth is missing here? Oh yeah, my computer is not a semi-conductor, a nuclear reactor, it doesn't bake bread (oh wait, MSFT is actually implementing that technology so that your oven will probably not only make bread but get turned on by a phone call, your eggs can tell you when they need replacement, your milk when it's about to go sour, and so on.) Where is this lack of innovation of which you all speak?
I don't [care] whether MSFT bought it or innovated it; an argument we've had so many times I could puke. A lack of innovation in this industry is hardly our problem. Please someone name one invention that we so desperately need that has not come to market due to Microsoft. I'm sure you can name a few products that failed. To the consumer that's largely irrelevant because the fact remains most of us are basically trying to figure out how to fully utilize all the products we already have. (Of course, we're just ignorant non-techies who, like the nanny state tells us, don't really know what is good for us.)
Sorry folks, your arguments fall pretty flat. There will come a time when MSFT blocks innovation but that has not happened yet [you don't consider getting a $ 10,000 piece of equipment to market for $ 1,200.00 "innovative?" I guess it depends on what your definition of "is" is.] If it has, the consumer is (of course) too stupid to notice so the point is , well, moot.
What I see here is a lot of angry techies, and that's who brought this lawsuit. Is that what anti-trust laws are for? You continue to rant about some nebulous innovation that hasn't occurred. I think all our heads are spinning because of how fast this technology moves and how obsolete expensive products often become because of it. In fact, MSFT's policy of backward compatibility has saved thousands of dollars for the consumer; an accommodation not even APPL bestowed on its customers.
If MSFT has stifled innovation, where's the evidence? If MSFT has stifled your ability to out-tech the market and drive us all nuts, I say "good."
The salvation of this industry has been Windows 95-98, something techies abhor because it makes you all less relevant (oh yes, I saw you all fight this- from GUI's to the mouse because you considered all of these "innovations" somehow beneath you.)
Do you think you still have to explain to anyone on this board or on the face of this earth? That MSFT "stole" the GUI from APPL who stole it from Xerox? How DOS was a derivative of the (bankrupt) DR-DOS, or how Bill Gates took the Altair and actually made it work for the masses? It is the retentive and myopic attitudes of most techies that would have stopped this industry dead in its tracks. The marketing guys pull these ideas forward, and MSFT if nothing else is the tremendous marriage between marketing and tech. That is why it is so successful.
Consumers don't care about your inter-industry problems and there is no evidence, empirical or otherwise, that MSFT has stifled opportunity or innovation. Oh, maybe for some of you but that's not our problem.
If Netscape had a problem with patent infringement (oh, gee, Netscape "bought" the technology for the browser from Mosaic. god forbid, MSFT tried such a stunt. Oh wait, it did. How is Netscape innovative and MSFT not?) or collusion between MSFT and OEM's or any other issue against MSFT, Netscape should have brought it to court as a corporate action. This isn't an anti-trust case because on this level it is fundamentally flawed: you forgot the consumer. We haven't been harmed!
With AT&T everyone knew this was a monopoly and most consumers were fine with getting out from under. With MSFT the argument fails to hold water. You brought your lawsuit too soon. Call us in 25 years when we're all clamoring for something we need that MSFT has blocked from coming to market then maybe we'll care what you have to say. Instead, I for one resent you using the DoJ as your personal law firm. Your actions are going to screw the consumer and once again put us under the thumb of the out of touch techie who lost this "war of innovation" because they cared not a whit about what consumers want.
Do you think Jerry Yang had this problem? Jeff Bezo's? No way, their products were aimed toward the consumer, to make our lives easier. Not to take technology and innovation ever farther out of the reach of the novice or average user. We all thank MSFT (and APPL) every day and I for one curse only the geeks who have made it take so long for this technology to get into everyone's hands. As a long time Mac user I see what went on for the last 15 years and to quote William Shakespere (a guy you love to hype as either genius-innovator or malign as thief): " Men at some time are masters of their fates; The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves."
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