Eric, thank you for your thoughtful reply. It is nice to see a non-devotee
of Microsoft note that my views have some validity, and it is nicer to have
learned something from you.
I have been enjoying a hobby web site lately, that so far has been
inexhaustible: in several weeks of poking around, I have neither exhausted
its internal links nor its interest. Maybe I am impoverished in my surfing
options <grin> but it is about the single most interesting - except possibly
Slashdot.org, which is a different thing entirely, a journal and an archive.
The site is http://www.friesian.com/#contents and the main items are
philosophy, chronologies & maps of ancient dynasties, libertarianism, and
military history. You might enjoy it too.
I mention this because you have caused me to change my mind. I now favor a
divorce of the Microsoft OS and Applications departments. The reason is I
learned something from the above-mentioned site. For many years, I have
believed that my obligation was to try to do the right action, and to leave
the results to God. This philosophy professor has taught me a "Socratic
principle": the principle of human ignorance, he calls it. The pineapple
matches my pre-existing belief but extends it, as follows: since I in
principle can not know for sure the results of my actions, and since in
principle I can never know the desires of others as well as I know my own, I
should NEVER justify a means by an end.
If I do not really know the affect of my action, nor how it will really
affect others, I must act rightly (by the standard Christians call the
"Golden Rule"), and truly abandon justifying things by their results.
As regards Microsoft, I kind of like the cheap-in-one-box result (even if I
totally agree that as regards most of the pieces, things like DR DOS, Word
Perfect, Corel Draw, Netscape, Borland Paradox, Lotus 1-2-3 or Borland
Quatro, Stacker, DesqView, etc etc - the original competition was FAR
better, at least at one time, cause I used to use ALL of those things in
preference to Microsoft).
But analyzing just their action, and not the result, the bogus
OS-Applications "Chinese Wall" really let them unfairly outdo a lot of
competitors. The Word Perfect developers working on the MS-IBM OS2 are
perhaps the premier example of that...
So I agree that some of their action was wrong, and should be undone and
also prevented in the future.
Thank you for your insight.
I still lack sympathy for Microsoft's competitors, in that MS ended up doing
a better deal FOR ME (and IMHO for the average user and for the industry in
general). But results should not be the basis of a moral/legal judgment (or
we would be hanging people who caused accidents, and praising those who
assassinated people we are afraid of).
You are right, and I shall try to keep that in mind, should the topic of MS
present itself to my mind again.
Eric Armstrong Wrote:
> Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 14:49:39 -0700
> From: Eric Armstrong <email@example.com>
>Subject: Re: Slashdot thread; License type
>John \"sb\" Werneken wrote:
>> Microsoft in my opinion got where they are by doing three things
>> better than others did. And better than others do now:
>> 1. The concept of the application suite (and, later, the OS) gaining a
>> semi-common user interface.
>Yes, yes, yes, and yes. They were the FIRST and often the ONLY company
>to really "get it", to understand that a person's *time* is the most
>valuable commodity on the planet, and that wasting even a millisecond of
>it was essentially immoral, and ultimately ineffective. There are Unix
>hackers today who *still* don't get it, but many fewer of them now that
>MS has beat their brains into mush. (My own moral imperative: If you
>take enough time from enough people, it is the moral equivalent of
>killing someone. Any software that is intended for wide, general use
>*must* be as ergonomically efficient as possible.)
>> 2. The concept of embrace, extend, engulf:
>Here, we part company. If Lotus (an application vendor) had managed to
>do so, I would say great. If MS-app (the soon to be independent app
>division of MS) does so, that will also be fine. But MS abused its OS
>monopoly to carry out that policy. I'm a fan of the standard interface,
>and I only buy software that meets those standards. But a lot of
>competition has vaporized that probably would still be in business.
>There were companies making all kinds of add ons, all competing with one
>another. But once MS took one, the rest vanished overnight.
>> 3. The care, feeding, and management of third part developers. The VBA
>> world for example.
>> So they try to be accessible to ordinary people; comprehensive in what
>> they deliver; and thrive by remaining valuable themselves to maybe a
>> million or so more minor-league developers. Not bad concepts to emulate.
>They do work hard at it. What they deliver is not always the best. It
>can take a long time to search their knowledge base CDs for example, but
>they work hard at getting whatever they have out the door. They
>understood better than everyone that you have to get the developers on
>board. They write the apps that bring the customers. It was a lesson
>lost on nearly everyone in the industry until Java came along and
>demonstrated their thorough understanding of the facts of life -- the
>battle is for developer mindshare. Developers will then battle for
>customer mindshare, amplifying your message many-fold
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