Understanding Microsoft

Part 12. Cancer Cells

When a cancerous cell begins to operate within a body, it has an agenda of growth. The growth must come at the expense of the resources of the body. That is, the tumor will eventually require feeding and care, just like healthy flesh. At some point in the process, the body is expending so much of its own bloodstream and energy in maintaining the cancer cells, that the body becomes weak and susceptible to other ills. In some cases surgical removal of the cancer would cause more damage than letting it continue to grow, because the cancer has spread to the infrastructure of the body. At this point it may possibly be that the cure is worse than the disease.

Of course individual cancer cells spread the disease by converting safe, healthy cells in other parts of the body into killers. They inject their DNA and reprogram the formerly healthy cells, so that these now have the new agenda of cancer growth instead of the previous agenda of bodily health. The victimized cells themselves are unaware of this hidden agenda until it is too late because the transformation has already occurred. Now the purpose of these converted cells becomes to grow and eventually infect other cells, spreading into new territory.

The hidden agenda of the cancer cell, to spread its own growth at the expense of its neighbors, is very similar to the "partnership" strategies of Microsoft. When Microsoft decides to move into a new area of business, it will often "partner" with one of the leaders of the field it desires to control. The terms of this so-called partnership may seem innocent enough at first, and even beneficial; however, the long-term agenda of Microsoft is growth at all costs. That means that the whole point of the partnership is control for the purpose of further growth.

Just what kind of deal does Microsoft offer when it uses the term "partner?" Well, the first step that must be taken by the target company is to divest itself of all non-Microsoft-approved products, particularly involving operating systems and Web browsers. Operating systems are the base DNA upon which Microsoft erects its engines of influence for further expansion. Therefore, superior operating systems and related technologies from IBM, Netscape, Lotus, Novell, and other competitors must be removed from every computer at the target company. (So much for user choice.) Microsoft will often give away their own products, or perhaps their technical talents, to help the target company perform the downgrade. Usually a long-term contract is involved, signifying complete conformity to the Microsoft equivalent of invading DNA. The business is now re-engineering itself to become 100% dependent upon Microsoft, even to the point of firing workers who warn of the limitations of the weakling Microsoft products and the dangers of becoming totally dependent on a voracious monopolist for their information infrastructure. Hundreds or even thousands of employees -- usually the most experienced ones -- will be laid off to quiet the complaints and warnings.

Eventually, of course, this dependency makes the target company's new agenda become protecting Microsoft and ensuring Microsoft's survival. If Microsoft suffers, then the new partner will also suffer. After all, Microsoft products tend to have long-term reliability problems due to their sloppy internal design, so that support contracts as high as $250,000 per year are often needed. But having been duped into firing all the competent workers who knew how to support superior alternatives, the partner now becomes merely a dependent conduit, providing Microsoft with access to the next set of objectives, to the next "partners." At this point the cure is worse than the disease; it is usually too late for a company to start over.

When these target partners include media elements such as NBC, cable networks, and various print magazines, can we really expect to enjoy an unbiased viewpoint from them? When partners include consulting firms like KPMG Pete Marwick, can we really expect them to provide their customers with the best solutions, particularly the non-Microsoft solutions? The cancer thus begins to move into the nervous system, heading for the brain. Microsoft is truly a cancer on America.

Most recent revision: December 22, 1997
Copyright © 1997, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.

E-MAIL: os2headquarters@mindspring.com