Part 65. The 8-Track Tape Man
The recent court cases against Microsoft, particularly the DOJ lawsuit, have exposed
an interesting set of circumstances. Microsoft has apparently kept thousands upon
thousands of incriminating e-mails that show point-blank how directly they have
planned the death of competition and the elimination of free choice. For example,
top Microsoft managers state that they "must not allow Netscape to get on any
desktops" and they "search through balance sheets to find out how they're
making their money." Why, so they can copy the other guy's business plan? No,
of course not. The purpose of this kind of research is to locate revenue sources
and cut them off, strangling the cash flow of the competition through direct action
instead of merely indirect consequence of the marketplace.
As if in denial, Microsoft's honchos continue demanding their supposed "right"
to directly attack competitors' channels of revenue and advertising. They claim
that rigging Microsoft's monopoly products to purposely disable competing products
is not sabotage, but merely "innovation" and "a benefit to the consumer."
They claim to know nothing about intimidation and threats against computer makers
and media writers who support superior, non-Microsoft alternatives. And why do
Microsoft's big-shots insist so vehemently that they are "protecting the industry
against government intervention?" The answer is quite simple: Microsoft's
leaders actually deeply believe their own lies.
It is as if the man who invented the 8-track tape machine believed that this invention
was the last big breakthrough in the history of human intellect, and that this 8-track
machine must be protected at all costs. It is as if the superior alternatives such
as cassettes and CD-ROMs must never be allowed to gain a foothold in the music marketplace,
because the 8-track machine was the "real" pinnacle of human achievement.
Because of this irrational, adolescent, overly-emotional attachment to its Windows
kludge, Microsoft's top brass have blinded themselves to the reality of the technological
backwardness of their products. They are so enamored of their wimpy inventions,
their greatest fear is that the reality of their obsolescence will become known
publicly, properly leading to their demise.
Imagine your favorite music only available on 8-track tape, never on cassette or
CD-ROM. Imagine automobile makers forced by market conditions to put brain-dead
8-track units in expensive cars, instead of having the freedom to put clean-sounding
CD players into the dashboards. Imagine having to endure the stupid claims, over
and over, by know-it-all reporters and magazine writers, claiming that 8-track was
obviously the "best" product because "that is what the marketplace
has chosen." Imagine trying to explain to friends, relatives, and coworkers
that making shinier knobs and fancier colors on the 8-track machines was not "benefitting
the consumer" since the consumer was being denied an entire category of far-superior
The problem with Microsoft's market dominance is that so many self-styled "experts"
have been fooled into thinking that a series of minor, incremental updates to an
obsolete product (Windows) is progress and a boon to consumers. These mental midgets
need to wake up and smell the Java -- marginal improvements to brain-dead products
are only a smokescreen to keep people from abandoning the Microsoft mafia and upgrading
to products that show real innovation, such as OS/2 and Unix.
Most recent revision: September 26, 1998
Copyright © 1998, Tom Nadeau
All Rights Reserved.