The industry gorilla seeks to replace widespread opinion that it is arrogant, unaccountable and monopolistic with a new perception as a softer, gentler giant following a subtle shift in the way it deals with clients and competitors. Additionally, the software giant has renamed its division responsible for software used to manage Windows servers, as the company prepares to update management tools at a conference next week.
Microsoft 2.0: Meet the Gentler Software Giant
Submitted by Greg & Vic Berkshire 2003-03-12 Microsoft 30 Comments
All the marketing droid driven crap in the world will not change the fact that Microsoft has been, is, and always will be an out of control, selfish corporation run by a megalomanic individual bent on “owning” and controling every facet of modern digital life. They can “claim” they are changed but until their actions begin to show actual change all we are seeing is this years PR effort.
Microsoft, start treating your competitors as cooperative friends in the same industry instead of enemys you must crush out of existance. Maybe then some of us will believe your marketing BS.
will still hate them.
It really comes down to these things.
1. I want to work the way I want to work, not the way they would like me to work.
2. I cannot bring myself to trust a company this large.
….MS is a corporation. Corporations want to make profit. To profit, you bend everything as far as it will go, and maybe a little bit more, and if it breaks, you attempt to weather the blast. MS has done this repeatedly. They are top dog. Now the industry can settle down and find niches where MS has no interest (ie, where the profit doesn’t justify the expense). MS will either shrink, grow, or go into stasis. It doesn’t really matter — everyone has to play the card reality has dealt, which is, that MS rules the roost of computing for now in the consumer arena.
I still don’t see what the big deal is, as I post from my XP box. But I could have been posting from any of my other 3 OSX boxes. It’s a don’t care. Apple makes the best full package and most interesting apps, and my PCs (2 XP machines in total) dutifully fulfill daily corporate email duties, Windows driver builds, and web browsing for the sites that support nothing but XP. My OSX box(3) handles driving building, personal email, and most surfing I do after hours. The Linux PC just sits and burns power. I used to have it play MP3s, but I guess my audio driver doesn’t like my hardware, won’t play over 3 hours without jamming up the audio driver and any attached processes, or allowing me to unload the modules. Nope, takes a full reboot, but I digress…
I think the biggest contributors to these board spaces must be college students. I used to be young and completely unaware of my socialistic tendencies when I was in college, too. Soon you will graduate, and believe me, you’ll want to play with the big boys, like MS, and go for the cash grab. You have to support these hardware habits (whether it be PC or apple) you are developing now in school, and will develop further when you see the big iron on the other side of graduation day. This much is true for all three camps, Windows/OSX/Linux. Linux doesn’t run on air, you know… and since about RH7 or kernel 2.4, ever how you mark your history in Linux, Linux has not been lightweight/run anywhere, no matter what the legends say. Okay sure, you can spend weeks stripping it down — but really, lets be serious, thats only practical if you have alot more time than money. Most people aren’t going to try.
Plus, brighten up, MS has felt the heat from the open source OSs on the server front, and the trend is not breaking. This means that since the consumer and the server OSs share basic drivers and such, that the kernel architecture is shared and improvements are normally applied across the board. This means Windows can only get better and probably very rarely pull a “WinME” and come out with something cruddier than the last great thing…
If you eat up Microsoft’s latest offering of PR spin, you will certainly get to know on a personal level what the technology version of mad cow disease is. You get tech-mad-cow by reading press releases and believing they contain factual information. In reality, you are loading your brain with half-truths at best, but mostly just candy-coated lies.
This sort of ground up dead animal PR and then actual “news” on the PR is a sure sign that there is far more shakeout yet to come in the tech industry.
It’s still a sad day when people argue against morality. Obviously these people are either amoral themselves or ignorant of the building blocks of capitalism, at least Adam Smith capitalism with its moral foundations.
These days it is a big thing in the news about corporations having “personhood”. As a testament to what the technology industry stands for today, we see so many arguments for the amoral personhood. Corporations are just about profit, they say, nothing else. Anything that’s not about profit is wrong.
The strong values that built the tech industry have been poisoned and jettisoned. No more do we need about meritocracies, solving actual problems, or objective measurement. It is all slick hype designed to fool someone so you can steal their money.
Microsoft is utilizing a variant of “thick face, black heart” for their new effort to kill Linux and open source. Thus the panoply of “kinder, gentler” lies. I hope not too many of the generally ingenuous techies will be fooled.
There’s only one thing Microsoft cares about. And that is taking as much of your money as possible and delivering as little as possible, ideally nothing, for it. Make sure you are holding one hand on your wallet when you hear them say how they care about you.
I think you wrongly paste the image created by marketing teams onto the engineers behind these products. NT/OSX/S360/etc. all have strong and honorable engineers behind the code. Sure MS stuff is buggy, but if you look at what they came from, they are learning how to build reliable software. What MS has accomplished in house is amazing. IBM is standing on the shoulders of free labor to sell hw for Linux. I consider MS more honorable that they are building and learning about enterprise level OSs internally. Even Apple, who adopted the Mach kernel, is learning all about how to remodel a old-school microkernel to let their hw act like macs always have — do video and audio really well.
All the current crops of ideaologies and/or OSs have their evil faces. Linux/Stallman, MS/Gates/marketing corps., IBM/devious “Linux” philosophy to make OSS coders feel good about them. And these faces have always existed. IBM used to try their most heinous tricks to kill their competitors, AT&T practically could & would destroy any competitor it wanted too, Larry Ellison has been honestly dishonest since time eternal, and I’m sure if I kept digging, I could get dirt on any major company on the NASDAQ. These are just commonly known cases. And in all these cases, there were honorable engineers working behind the scenes to either help their product they believed in be what the hype said or at least not fall flat on its face.
So, in short, I don’t buy your argument that the industry has suddenly accelerated onto the highway to hell and has the accelerator peddle pinned to the floor. It takes wiley salesman to make things move or to make other organizations move. Even Linux is indirectly motivated by these evil faces, to improve and work on Linux problems.
It’s all good — and typical one-upsmanship.
We can only hope that Microsoft does a 180 and stops violating anti-trust laws.
Reply to Chip Slush: What do my socialistic tendencies have to do with my dislike of Microsoft making it as hard as possible to utilize an operating system other than their own? Not to mention another browser than their own, another office suite than their own, the list goes on and on. A monopoly is almost always bad for the economy, and it’s especially horrible when it’s being maintained through illegal means. You don’t even have to take an economics class to realize that the best tool Capitalism has to offer is competition, which is stifled beyond belief in the operating system industry.
Apple is a joke, the hardware is expensive, the operating system pricing scheme is rediculous (All that money for a .x upgrade to my operating system? Uhhh, no), and the company’s lifeline has been Microsoft itself. Without Microsoft’s aid in keeping afloat Apple would’ve gone under long ago. Hell, it’s only real purpose is to showcase how Microsoft is supposedly not an illegal monopoly that strangles competition. You cannot seriously argue that your Apple Macintosh systems are proof that you have all the choice in the world.
P.S. — It’s the companies and hobbyists that specialize Linux to run on embedded devices or to shrink it’s size considerably. PC users have no need for this, I don’t know why you bring it up. There are very few people who would argue that as a product evolves and gains new features it must also gain a few pounds. Even if Linux distros are getting to be 3-CD choice-fests, there’s still proof that Linux is a lot more portable and easily accessible than Windows (Knoppix). One CD with practically any software title you could imagine, want, or need on a Linux box.
You say ridiculous, I say acceptable. I have no time to deal with things you obviously have time to deal with. Now, I am sure there are apple horror stories out there. There is always an occasional rotten apple in a barrel of apples (this applies to PCs/Macs/Mainframes/suns/PDAs/you name it). But when in every case I have ever experienced in that I can put in a OS installer disk and have a operational system in 45 minutes with minimal mouse clicks, and sound and video works cleanly and reliably, I say its reliable. Apple name their price for this convenience and I accepted it. I can’t make you accept this anymore than you could get me to drink battery acid, so I will spend no more time.
I also disagree that capitalistic principles have to involve regulation to prevent a monopoly from ruining things. The system will take care of itself as long as basic human rights are afforded individual humans. If MS is the only choice and they get sorry enough in quality, then people will just quit using machines for much of anything, and then sales will drop. Competitors could then step in, MS would have to improve. We all still win. It may be aggravating, but we still win with a bit of sacrifice.
Additionally, you stepped on my toes here:
“P.S. — It’s the companies and hobbyists that specialize Linux to run on embedded devices or to shrink it’s size considerably. PC users have no need for this, I don’t know why you bring it up.”
I mentioned because believe me, I have learned to seal holes in my presentations. If I had merely said Linux was heavyweight, 300 posts would have argued that its running on a cell phone. I just wanted to make clear it takes work to make Linux work on small hw.
You know the one, where burns tries to be nice to compete with that other billionaire and he ends up just being mean again because it was easier anyways, im sure you know the episode.
Microsoft promises lots of things, and they have a track record, of not delivering on there promises.
How can Microsoft change there attitude.
Free Technical support,
Put out Patches that do not trojan in any software,
Stop Gobbling up smaller companys, this is bad for PR, when i read in the news that Microsoft has taken over X Software house, that really bothers me, Microsoft is so bloated and constapated on small
companys, that there next take over might as well be Exlax.
Work on those 3 to start
Chip, honestly, I don’t understand your reasoning here. You act like Apple did some kind of magic hat-trick by providing an operating system that runs exclusively on one set of hardware, controlled for the most part by the company, and with not a whole lot of commercial software development. Microsoft Windows XP and various Linux distributions are available today that support a wide range of hardware and essentially work out of the box for the vast majority of users.
Your reasoning only works when the company in question is not a de facto standard based on their monopoly position which has been maintained illegally. You can’t simply up and say “We’re boycotting Microsoft products.” Microsoft is so deeply embedded in both the business world as well as the personal computing world (People type small notes as MS Word DOC files. Schools teach how to use PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, FrontPage, Word, everything). And guess what, that would be all fine and dandy if Microsoft didn’t take every step possible to reduce the ability of other software to use their files formats.
You cannot vote with your wallet when your very livelihood relies on the products, voluntarily or not. Believe me, I’ve been trying to make Linux my primary desktop operating system for about a year now and I’m still dealing with a whole assortment of issues, all stemming from Microsoft’s stubborn embrace and extend nature.
Some of you would say that Microsoft is evil, and you’re probably right. But do realize that Microsoft itself is little more than a byproduct of Corporate America, just like any other Corporation, only a little more ‘realized’ than most.
Why fight MS by putting your weight behind an ‘alternative’ OS that probably won’t amount to shit anyway in the grand scheme of things? What you should probably do is move up a couple of notches above Microsoft and fight this problem at the root. Instead of going after the Creation, doesn’t it make more sense to go after the Creator instead? Unless you want many more Creations just like Microsoft, only worse – Corporations that will not stop until they have invaded every facet of your personal space by trying to shove down your throat fake dreams, fake happiness, fake tits, or whatever else fake they have to sell.
The reasoning behind my argument is this: Everyone must make the assessment of quality/price. My sweetspot lies at Apple. They own it all, so it _just_ works. They offer me a BSD derived API layer on a microkernel designed for use with BSD. They offer video that works everytime. They offer audio that works everytime. They offer it for $130 bux. RH8 RHN subscription costs 60 bux, and I have sound that does not work consistently, and no video services or really, sound services, until I went out to the net to grab things to build (I am a sw engineer, so this is not a problem for me, just an annoyance) into the existing tools so that they could play standard audio formats. Now I guess I could have picked another distribution, but the rest are even more lame in a functional sense. At least programs open consistently on Rh8. But the kernel drivers, the drivers shared by all distributions (unless they package alsa) for my audio are the same — and they are totally unreliable. MS offers XP as an upgrade to my NT and 9x distributions, it’s sound and video systems are reliable, play many formats, and many components are written by 3rd parties to support formats that are not native to the built in media tools. 99 bux. 2 are values here, they do what they say on the box, and one is 50% rip off. I’ll leave the task value determination on the desktop for the socialists on the board as you will derive your answer, devoid or flooded with the truth.
Furthermore, who cares if apple owns it all? It works even better than NT for video and audio processing. If you make your decisions for software based on just how much stuff is supported and not the quality of the support for what is supported, then you shall reap what you sow. My mac runs perfect _all_the_time_. My XP boxes run perfect 100% of time as long as I don’t attempt to do my video editing hobby on it.
My linux box can’t play mp3s for over 3 hours through a via sound chip (this thing is more common than SB nowadays) without a reboot to regain sound again. It doesn’t have any reasonable video or audio editing options for the amateur.
Finally I’d like to address your lack of choice. It seems to me that you somehow believe MS has taken away your rights to choose your job, your personal development platform, and the ability of you to put food in the mouths of your children. I feel bad for you if you can’t see your tunnel out. You still have choice, but you have placed both the importance of money and your complete trust into microsoft on a subconscious level. You can still choose. There is money to be made on linux, just listen to the very complaints I have posted in my posts this evenings. These are all things that can be fixed in Linux and for a healthy sum too if you play your cards right. So, keep telling yourself:
1) You have no choice but MS
2) Apple provides no value because they don’t provide support for the dime store hw you want to plug in
3) Complain about MS stability after plugging in dime store hw
4) Complain that apple is totally reliable because they own all the cards for their deck
1) Exercise free will, select oppurtunities, and pursue
Otherwise, nothing will ever change. In the mean time, I have video to edit, on my Mac, that will not crash while I play Digitally Imported in the background for the next 16 hours straight, until I am so sick of trance that I will turn it off
Good night to you,
Certainly it would be good to get rid of the evil greedy people who have corrupted open market capitalism, created all the immoral corporations, etc. However, this is a big goal and breaking it down into smaller pieces will likely enable a greater chance of progress.
Moving away from Microsoft is a worthwhile cause because it will help diminish the power of the evil greedy people. Microsoft is a giant colossus in the tech world stagnating much progress and keeping many benefits from humanity. Knocking Microsoft down would be a great victory for good people all over the world.
A few thoughts on human effort as so many people don’t believe in their ability to make a difference anymore:
“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world will be better for this.”
— Miguel de Cervantes
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”
— Albert Einstein
“One man with courage makes a majority.”
— Andrew Jackson
Fight the good fight. We all live so very briefly. Reach for the stars and help your friends, family, and neighbors. Resist evil and greedy wherever you find it.
(WASHINGTON, DC) Just days after President Bush reportedly assured UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Vieira de Mello that the US is not torturing prisoners during interrogation, an article in today’s New York Times quotes numerous US officials admitting that US interrogators are using such methods as holding prisoners in prolonged painful positions and withholding access to food and water. Amnesty International, which recently has met with Department of Defense officials on this issue, renewed its call for President Bush to condemn publicly all forms of torture, and for the commander-in-chief to enforce the international prohibition on torture in interrogation of suspects.
The Times article repeatedly quotes US officials claiming they use only “acceptable techniques” for interrogation, including sleep and light deprivation and the temporary withholding of food, water, access to sunlight and medical attention, allegedly even for a prisoner who had been shot.
“The tactics US officials openly admit to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. These statements by US officials are an admission of complicity in torture,” said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. “Furthermore, transfer of prisoners to the custody of other countries where they are likely to be tortured is also a violation of international law. President Bush should issue a public, unequivocal statement rejecting all forms of torture by US officials and their foreign allies, just as his father did in 1992. US and international law are clear and absolute: torture is unacceptable regardless of the rationale or threat.”
Amnesty International has conducted three worldwide campaigns against torture, the most recent concluding in 2002.
“While the US now may feel safer with several key suspects apprehended, US troops in Iraq may well soon be placed in harm’s way and taken prisoner,” Schulz warned. “American citizens would be outraged if US servicemen or women are subjected to illegal and brutal detention or interrogation such as the US admits to be practicing.”
The same techniques US officials reportedly are employing — including hooding, holding in prolonged painful positions, and denial of food and sleep — were cited and condemned as torture in the 2002 Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in countries including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, China, and Haiti. (For excerpts of the Country Reports, see AIUSA news release March 7, 2003.)
Microsoft’s monopoly power is crushing the technology industry. Microsoft has proven, time and time again, to be an immortal, unethical, unscrupulous company. You cannot validate or rationalize their wrongdoings by trying to change the focus to another company that is not even comparable to Microsoft. Oracle is not a monopoly and has never been investigated by the US government and the European Union and found to be guilty of using monopoly power to crush their competitors.
There is more to life than greed and profits. I hope one day that the high tech industry is free of Microsoft. That will be a good thing for all of mankind.
Ooooooo! I feel sooooooooo bad for having had bad thoughts about the cute cuddly M$ Corp in the past. Our Gatres, who art in Redmond. Hallowed be thy name. Give us this day our daily glitch. And forgive us for ever doubting you. For thine is the kingdom of our freedoms, which we no longer need, because of you.
In the end all monopolies must end. Micrsoft is historically the longest monopoly ever but that is coming to an end.
Strangely, when a monopoly tends to end the company usually hits real financial difficulties and sometimes even goes under.
For examples of this people in Britain will know all too well about the difficulties BT, BA and Royal Mail are facing in keeping their companies afloat. It seems that once a monpoly steps aside and a viable alternative comes along people are very quick to ditch them.
I can name you a number of monopolies that operate longer as an monopoly than Microsoft ever did for both Windows/DOS and Office… the Big Four of Californian train industry in the 18/19th century for example…
I’m quite tired of the BS you guys spew out that Microsoft is all evil blah blah blah, and that there is more to life than money blah blah blah. Microsoft is still is one of the best places to work (in terms of enviroment), Bill Gates is a very big donor, etc. That wouldn’t happen if Bill Gates, Steve Balmers, etc. motto to life wasn’t business but to live a life of hippies. And meanwhile, the companies they killed (Netscape, Be, etc.) never aspired to be limited to a small income. Heck, if they had the business knowhow and the marketing knowhow of Microsoft, they probably love to get that amount of money.
And as for Microsoft aspiring to control everyone’s pathetic lifes… man, that’s like telling Stalinism would liberate us all from the “evils” of capitalism and zionism… What Microsoft is after is new profit. And every company planning to *stay* alive does that. just say someday somehow Windows and Office doesn’t make anymore profit – where do they get their money? From heaven?
It is called diversitication. It works very well in moderate amounts.
And to the claim that Microsoft should actually *cooperate* with competitors – man, I seriously laughed out on this one. Competitors are there for precisely what their name says – competitors. If they aren’t competitors, they are partners. Partners (well, most of them, with the notable exception of Apple) don’t compete head on.
Ever heard of the phrase “may the best man wins”? That’s exactly how Microsoft wins. Sure, they may be humogous compared to any other software company in the market – but who ever said it was impossible without antitrust laws? In fact, it is best for consumers if the competitors won in a unregulated market place – without antitrust laws. Would they win all the time? History shown us – no. Take XBOX for example. And those who believe Microsoft can’t loose their powers without antitrust laws are just plain naive.
So, Microsoft may be much bigger than Netscape or Sun or Be. But could they have won over Microsoft? In all cases, yes – even without antitrust laws. Why? In all cases, they made textbook cases of stupid business decissions.
If MS wants to change their image from a money grubbing compnay that tries to rule the PC world like a police state, they could do it quite easily. If they would just release some of their older programs for free (like DOS 6.22, Windows 1.0 and 2.0, etc) or even the source to the programs, that would go a long way. I seriously doubt that they make money on DOS and Windows 1/2, so it’s not like it would cost them. It wouldn’t cut into their sales (which is why they couldn’t release Office 2k). Think of all the great/odd programs we could get that MS has no use for. MS Bob (anyone remember that one?), the MS Entertainment Pack, etc. A little kindness goes a LONG way.
Are you a complete imbercile?
I have never before heard it argued the the consumer benefits from a monopoly. Do you have any understanding of capitalism and game theory at all? The whole point of being a monoply is that you have produced a situation where you control the market and you can afford to sell things at a loss fir a while to retain control. (Thanks for mentioning the X-Box, that’s a good example) This then means that in the long run you get to sell items at “monopoly rent”, meaning you rather then the market set the price. It is illegal in the stock market, it is illegal in business. Read up on your history – you might want to start with Standard Oil. Maintaining a monopoly is not about innovating, it is about controling the market.
If you don’t MS do this you are crazy. This is the whole point of embrace and extend – nobody gets to have a viable standard that is not based around MS. Their alteration of the Kerberos protocol (when signed up to the RFC!) is an example of this, as is their ongoing attempt to pervert HTML into a IE led protocol. What is different about MS is that they genuinely hate open standards, and activley try to break the products of others through technological means. This would not be a viable stategy in a truly open market, but MSs vice grip over x86 and the desktop enables them to get away with it, and these actions prevent anyone else from developing viable product.
They really are scum.
PS: Regards Be, even the courts have found MS acted illegally. Again I don’t like to have to school you but you might want to look into why there were so few dual boot PCs, even when BeOS was offering the OS basically for free. And no, it wasn’t because BeOS was crap.
Personally, I think you are all pretty much missing the big picture here. (No offense intended). You are forgetting the one real lesson history has taight us time and time again since man first decided he wanted to think for himself. It applies to MS and any other company, person, whatever that wants to dominate all others.
“And this too shall pass”…
I am not to sure that this argument would have gone down too well if I was telling WWII Jews that while they were getting gassed. Every man (IMHO) is beholden to try and improve the world, and that does not include a passive fatalism. I will try my best for what I believe is right. In this case I passionately believe that that is OSS.
I totally agree you you.
If they are a monopoly it’s because they don’t have any real competition, sure there was BeOS and OS/2, but be inc. targeted beos for small niche markets and that was their demise and IBM stopped investing in OS/2 after a while, and like Rajan pointed out, the marketing skills of both be and ibm wheren’t the best.
As for ms abusing it’s monopoly, maybe it did, but not because it bundled internet explorer with windows, or because it bought other companies, for example 3dfx bought gigapixel, and nvidia bought 3dfx (during a court trial with 3dfx) and no one accused nvidia of being evil.
Still the same broken records from the same people. Some people have their eyes open and are paying attention to all the details and some people still want to shape reality into their ideals, as they are likely seeking to benefit from the same abuse-willing consumers.
The most frustrating thing of all is that several of the capitalist “let the market run its course” people here indicate that they are NOT stupid and are rather intelligent and have a good grasp of the language in which they’re communicating. It’s frustrating because they could simply educate themselves on the details that they as yet still seem to disregard, no matter how many times they are pointed in the right direction. Maybe it is a matter of self deception (believing that they already know enough to make their strong claims) or that they are too close to the problem to see what its composition is.
It offends me when people willingly accept a limited view of the world and the events that surround them simply to maintain the “image of” a reality that they prefer.
Be skeptical of other people’s claims, but don’t insist on standing for something when there is evidence that it isn’t what you think it is or want it to be.
Corporations and politicians want to change the way they are perceived without really having to change.
This is the equivalent of wanting to have your cake and eat
The problem is people through this.
Want to change the way people think about you?
Change, don’t pretend to.
The problem is MS business model is predicated on all
the things that make people hate them.
Read the article then put on The Who’s “Won’t get fooled
again” just in case you are tempted to.
I agree. The problem is that lots of people WILL get fooled again because they will be faced with all the paid-for media and all of the believers that label people like you and me as “whiners and complainers” that “just don’t understand how real business works.”
My luck ran out. I typed a very much full (close to 8000 chars) reply to Jace and James and *bang* Opera crashed. Man, of all times, why must it crash now? 🙁
Anyway, Jace, I found a book about three months ago called “Antitrust: Case For Repeal” – find it on Amazon. Very well written – from what I have read so far. Quite interesting. It shoots down a lot of the reasons of antitrust laws to exist.
Meanwhile to James, Be Inc. is a classic example of really bad marketing. Marketing begins from the drawing board.
Thank God for Opera. It IS the best browser out there and who would have imagined it had such incredible AI that it could sense that rajan r was about finished with another one of his long winded uninformed diatribes that it would actually crash and save us all from another rajan post.
Thank You Opera, YOU ROCK!
Yeah, and I found some books that prove that humans were descended from crashed Alien astronauts. The moral? Don’t believe everything you read.
You mean we’re NOT descended from crashes alien astronaughts??
As for rajan r’s book, I shall write it down to look at it. It is important to know both sides. Thanks for the reference.
This book costs about ten dollars and is low on stock (meaning it is likely to not be repurchased by Amazon for more sales, if the “4 in stock” notice works out like it does with other items I’ve bought from Amazon, which suggests it does not sell well). This book was originally published in 1986. It was republished as a second edition to make new sales by focusing on the Microsoft case (which became chapter One of the second edition). I wouldn’t doubt this has happened with several books both for and against the MS case (it’s about getting money, really). So that can’t exactly count as a strike against it, I guess.
The book itself is only 107 pages, including the index. There are seven chapters, with each getting about 15-23 pages. The pages are in a large font with about .5 to 1 inch margins. Curiously, the sample on Amazon starts not at the preface or the introduction, but right there on the first chapter titled “The Antitrust Assault on Microsoft.”
The information is very quickly disseminated in broad use of language and general statements. It also is takin liberties with the information, such as siding with Microsoft when it states that:
“There were other operating systems for personal computers available (Mac OS, Unix, OS/2, Linux) and consumers could turn to them if the Microsoft system were unavailable; in addition, new suppliers could always enter the market.”
This implies that Microsoft’s statements on this issue (pretty much word for word the same as this text) are the truth, when in fact the REAL truth is different and contains a lot of “conditionals.” Such as Mac OS, OS/2, Unix and Linux not being in direct competition with Microsoft, especially at the time of the original complaint. Today this is even more apparent, with the exception of Linux, which is, begrudgingly, growing some interest from the personal computing market.
The book goes on to declare that the definition of market share in relation to monopoly is confusing (no, it isn’t, it is made to appear that way by those who wish to convert the minds of people who are unsure and uneducated about the specific situation – the law is based on guidelines, not a specific set of steps for every situation), and “ultimately misleading.” Suggesting that “…a firm could produce a superior product at low cost and consumers could establish that firm as the dominant supplier” suggesting that this is the case with Microsoft and MS Windows, against which there are scores of arguments, but these are not touched upon at all – in fact, no details are explored in any way.
It then gets back on topic in time to give its authors’ opinion of how Microsoft has attained its status through entirely legitimate means. Not by stating any facts or figures, but by repeating the same verbiage that Microsoft itself used in court and in their PR time and again. You can see the connection between the MS PR speak and the text in this book. They use the same terminology, word ordering and presumption.
The Amazon sample then goes straight to the Index. Ironically, this provides some quick free-reading for Amazon customers and the curious that is quite pro-Microsoft, without going into any details.
I’ve read quite a few books like this while sitting in the cafe portion of Borders & Barns & Noble. If the information provided at Amazon is an accurate indicator (and I admit it may not be), this book is likely nothing but one-sided, carefully worded fluff that offers no real “evidence” or “information” to the reader, while merely expounding on one opinion (the Microsoft opinion, it seems) that is no more valuable or credible than any posting we’ve seen on OSNews.com’s forums.
It appears to be a mass-media piece intended to be mere propaganda for readers that don’t want to think to heavily but are otherwise curious about the “opposing view.” It reminds me of the “Learn Photoshop Effects” books that are lined up row after row on the computer book shelves. Worthless mass-authored tripe that is only there to make a buck in a field where you can publish endless books to be eaten by unweary consumers – not to educate while making a buck.
In short, this book appears to be the ideal book for those who are naive and easily swayed by the “assumed authority” of books. A quick-fix to arm Microsoft defenders and those against antitrust for the times that they will be involved in public debate (I’ve seen these statements almost word-for-word from MS, the apologists and the capitalist wannabes). It offers just enough one-sided information to make the reader into a dangerous (and annoying) “repeater” of slanted information; a propaganda tool.