Understanding Microsoft

Part 4. The Sore Loser

Watch some kids playing a game, and you'll see a variety of personalities in action. Some kids accept winning gracefully, others do not. Some kids learn to accept losing in a mature and humble manner, and others do not. What you occasionally see in the extreme case, however, is The Sore Loser.

The Sore Loser is not necessarily a bad player; he or she may in fact win the majority of the games. This loser may actually win nearly every time, but it is that one occasion of failing to conquer that causes anger, frustration, and maybe even a temper tantrum. Never happy, this compulsive personality has to win every time without exception, because victory is more important than anything else. A single loss, no matter whether the margin is great or small, is enough to ruin the entire day.

Sore losers are not just angry about losing; they are angry because somebody else defeated them. Somebody else succeeded and accomplished something that The Sore Loser failed at. He or she would have been much happier had the game never been played, or perhaps if it had been interrupted by rain or maybe even a car accident. The Sore Loser can sometimes be seen destroying gamepieces or even attempting to assault the opponent after a loss. The term "sportsmanship" does not exist in their vocabulary. Devoid of humility or appreciation for the talents of others, The Sore Loser will occasionally try to destroy evidence that the contest even took place, thus living in a fantasy world of denial and egotism.

When Java first appeared on the computer scene about three years ago, Microsoft laughed at it. How could anyone else be inventive, creative, or successful? Microsoft had a monopoly on original ideas -- or so they thought. Now that Java is poised to become the most successful programming language in world history, Microsoft has revealed itself to be the ultimate Sore Loser.

Of course, Java is not the only case of Sore Loser Syndrome for Microsoft; for example, standards like Device Bay are roundly rejected by Microsoft, who refuses to put Device Bay support into its Windows98 plans. Device Bay is not available as a Service Pak or any other option, either. Why not? Because Device Bay is a public, open, published standard, and The Sore Loser cannot accept this. "If I can't control it, NOBODY gets it." The same goes for web browsers and the Internet.

In the case of Java, Microsoft first pretended to acknowledge Sun Microsystems as the inventor and the authority of Java. Microsoft dutifully paid their licensing fees and promised to play the game by the rules. However, they are now intent on splitting Java, ruining its cross-platform capabilities, and sabotaging the process of software innovation. Sore Loser Microsoft wants to break the gameboard in half, because if Microsoft can't win, then NOBODY will be allowed to win. Getting Microsoft into checkmate is half the battle; you must also protect the gameboard from destruction by The Sore Loser.

Fortunately, Sun is smart enough to call for help when the board-smashing rampage begins, and the approval of Sun as ISO standard-bearer means that the board is now out of Microsoft's grubby hands. Look for Sore Loser Microsoft to now begin the process of historical revisionism, attempting to pretend that Java does not even exist.

Most recent revision: December 5, 1997
Copyright © 1997, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.

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