Part 36. The Criminal Mind
Whether Microsoft is ever found legally guilty of a particular crime or not, there
is a certain mentality prevalent among the elite leadership at the Redmond giant
that is also common among the criminal class. This attitude is called The Criminal
Mind, and it has certain aspects or features that make Microsoft a very nasty company
to deal with.
1. "Rules are for suckers." This is the belief that the criminal is "above
the law," that the law is something for other, weaker persons to obey, but
not for the criminal himself. Rules are nothing more than an inconvenience, an unnecessary
hindrance on the criminal's supposedly inevitable pathway to prosperity. Following
rules, obeying authority, and submitting to law and order are thus considered signs
of a weak personality instead of a strong one. Basically, the criminal mind says
"if you're stupid enough to follow the rules, you deserve to fail." Microsoft
thus stretches every definition, jumps at every loophole, and inserts every form
of contractual doublespeak into its machinations. If Microsoft thinks it can get
away with something, it will try to.
2. "I can get away with things because I'm smarter than the average outlaw."
This is the assumption that the only reason every previous crook got caught is because
he just wasn't clever enough to avoid punishment. The criminal mind is inherently
boastful, self-consumed, and haughty; therefore, this attitude panders to the personality
flaws of the would-be con artist. It is usually this very attitude and self-concept
that leads to the person's downfall, because it tends to make a person overestimate
his own abilities and underestimate the resourcefulness of the authorities. Microsoft
believes that it has a monopoly on intelligence, and thus believes that it does
not matter if everyone else is against them. No matter how smart the opposition
is, Microsoft believes itself to be intellectually invincible.
3. "I deserve whatever I can grab, no matter who gets hurt." Unlike the
disdain for law and order, this attitude is essentially a lack of respect for the
community of fellow citizens. Instead of fighting against some supposedly overbearing
authority, this element of the criminal personality involves a callous disregard
for the legitimate wants, needs, and rights of others. If a Microsoft product floods
the stores to gain market share at the expense of a previous ally, putting them
out of business overnight, Microsoft is not saddened by the damage done to a onetime
supporter; in fact, Microsoft is proud of this accomplishment, because it shows
that they can discard their friends and associates at will. Friendship and loyalty,
like obedience and submission to authority, are considered weaknesses. The basic
assumption is that somebody else must lose for Microsoft to win, and why should
a friend be an exception to that rule?
4. "I can't trust anyone; everyone is out to get me." This condition of
paranoia results from the faulty assumption that everyone else has the same basic
mentality as the crook. The criminal mind sees everyone around him as just a less-intelligent,
less-ruthless version of himself. Any apparent compromise agreement by Microsoft
is just a subterfuge; Microsoft will never really give up anything vital because
it does not trust anyone else. By assuming that everyone else is crooked and deceitful,
Microsoft will never have any real friends. Instead, they will have a succession
of temporary allies and dupes, companies either too stupid to recognize the Microsoft
agenda, or short-sighted enough to just want to make a quick buck before they get
backstabbed. Microsoft isn't worried about this, because of their falsely assumed
Microsoft thus has embarked on a course that is doomed to remove all sympathy from
supporters, customers, rivals, and governmental authorities. A company which takes
everyone for suckers sooner or later runs out of suckers, and a company which flouts
enough legal principles sooner or later gets more than the usual attention from
the authorities. It is only a matter of time before Microsoft is recognized as Public
Enemy Number One.
Most recent revision: February 22, 1998
Copyright © 1998, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.