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ZDNet: Time to stand up to Microsoft

Sep 27, 2001, 21:36 (39 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rupert Goodwins)

[ Thanks to Jorge Restrepo for this link. ]

"...Microsoft's relationship to its users is that of the blue whale to krill. Our only purpose is to breed, feed and get squeezed against its giant tongue until every last drop of money is released. There was a slight diminution in the aggressive, monopolistic feeding frenzy last year when, let us not forget, the company was found guilty of abusing its position. Now that Bush is in power, Microsoft is right back in those fertile Antarctic waters. Not only does it act in a way that suggests it doesn't care about the cries of pain from its customers, it barely registers that such cries exist. Now it has 90 percent of the corporate market, it will hunt its users to extinction before it notices anything wrong.

There are alternatives, which in a healthy capitalistic marketplace deserve exploration. A consortium of companies who pay most to Microsoft could fund an open-source development project to take Linux and turn it and its applications into a true replacement for Windows and Office. They know what they want, it would cost less to make such a package than it does to subscribe to Uncle Bill's club, and they'd end up having control of their own business-critical software for a change. The lock-in factor, where the pain of changing software is greater than the pain of paying the Microsoft ransom, would be reduced because the people writing the alternative would have the migration uppermost from design day one.

But there is another option. Companies, like individuals, have the power to disobey. An embargo of Microsoft products, of buying them, licensing them, paying fees due or any other action that puts money in Microsoft's bank account, would do the trick. Of course, Microsoft would withdraw support--as if anyone would notice--and could take some people to law, but even the mighty behemoth couldn't drag everyone through the courts. And what if the US Justice Department was in on the boycott? Unthinkable--until you think it. Of course, once .Net is in place MS will potentially have to tools to turn off your software at a moment's notice. Nice idea, huh?"

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