Understanding Microsoft

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 invincibility.

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.

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