Understanding Microsoft

Part 62. The Missionaries

For about 500 years or so, missionaries of Christendom and other religions have crisscrossed the globe looking to spread their version of the Good News. The results have been mixed -- in some cases, civil order and literacy have resulted; in others, civil war and an amalgamation of pagan and scriptural beliefs. Often the term "rice Christian" is used to describe the resulting "convert" as someone who doesn't really care about the details of doctrine or philosophy; they really just want a convenient handout and are willing to submit to whatever ritual or sermon gives them the reward of a free meal. In this way, a dependent class of followers may be produced, one that will allow unscrupulous clergymen to fleece a village or a country for years. This gives a bad name to any honest ministers who may come onto the scene later.

Similarly, Microsoft's minions have been willing to make any promise, claim any specification, proffer any innuendo, recite any buzzword, and laugh at any alternative in their quest to build a dependency class of "rice Windowists." These "converts" are the corporate managers and B-school dupes that don't care to investigate the realities behind the Microsoft whitewash. All they want is a quick and easy "free meal" of comforting, soothing words to silence any worries or guilt they may have about the future of their information infrastructures being dependent on the blowhards from Redmond.

It's easy to play the missionary game when truth and reality are not part of the formula. Simple techniques like selective exclusion of statistics are very effective in hiding the facts. For example, when IBM OS/2 had 5% market share and Windows NT had less than 1%, it was convenient for Microsoft's twisted minds to simply lump OS/2 into the category called "Other", and round up Windows NT to 1%. A statistical report of operating system marketshare in 1994 or 1995 would thus have reported Windows NT while refusing to print the name OS/2. In this way, the subtle assumption was planted that OS/2 was dead, disappeared, or at the very least less than 1% market share and also less than Windows NT. This was, of course, a lie.

Another favorite technique of the mullahs of Microsoft is to plant magazine headlines that are the exact opposite of the truth, often with a question mark to imply that they are not really lying. For example, when 26% of OS/2 sites surveyed were planning to *increase* their OS/2 investment and only 16% were planning to *decrease* it, a front-page trade magazine article blared "OS/2 Users Head for the Exits." For those whose local Windowist clergyman had already planted the false threat of a disappearing OS/2, the headline was all that was needed to make a confirmation. People subjected to four or five years of this deception came to believe that Microsoft representatives were some kind of visionaries who knew the future, when in fact they were merely building a self-fulfilling prophecy by scaring off the indecisive and misinformed managers.

Microsoft's self-professed "solution providers" know all too well that just like some kind of illiterate native class, most managers are technologically uninformed and too busy with the daily affairs of life to fix that problem. As a result, decisions that are made now are often based on emotional dependence and feel-good philosophy instead of a thorough examination of the facts. Sadly, it will take a Year2000 data doomsday to wake up many of these dupes.

Most recent revision: August 9, 1998
Copyright © 1998, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.

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