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Salon.com: The Microsoft resistance

Nov 30, 2001, 16:36 (40 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Scott Rosenberg)
"Each time the technology industry slumps -- as it did in the early '90s, when Microsoft's Windows cemented its now-overwhelming lead on Apple's Macintosh -- Microsoft can make hay; it sits on a pot of roughly $36 billion, and in recessions, cash is king. As the Wall Street Journal recently put it, for Microsoft, an economic downturn means "It's time to wrest important new markets from its weakened rivals": The company can turn up the marketing heat and the research budgets even as its competitors order up layoffs and spending cuts. And it can buy up promising new technology start-ups at bargain prices.

If you are among those who thought Microsoft's behavior deserved sterner treatment in the courts, as I am, is there any alternative to outrage and despair? Of course. Microsoft has been dubbed the Evil Empire so often it's a cliché, but as George Lucas and Ronald Reagan would both remind us, evil empires lose in the end. In Microsoft's case, resistance isn't necessarily futile -- in fact, whether or not it ever succeeds in changing the fact of Microsoft's market control, taking some defiant steps can improve your computing life and work, right here, right now.

That's what supporters of Microsoft who dismiss such complaints as knee-jerk whining -- or sectarian fanaticism in the religious wars of computerdom -- don't get about the critique of Microsoft that's widely held by many industry observers: It's not about mindless anti-Microsoft bias; it's a sane and pragmatic response to the negative aspects of Microsoft's monopoly that continue to warp the computer industry's growth and development."

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