I'm a vindictive person, and I have a long memory when it comes to those who slight my person or my beliefs. I can't remember where I left my keys this morning, but I remember the long-haired, pimply guy in a white Toyota who flipped me off on the freeway 12 years ago. (I'll have my revenge yet!) So why aren't I celebrating the DOJ's recommendation to break up Microsoft?
After all, wasn't it Microsoft that stole Apple's GUI out from under them and then used it nearly to destroy the Macintosh platform? Isn't Microsoft that company that's never worked toward an original idea, choosing instead to watch what others are doing and then mimic them to death? Pocket PC? Internet Explorer? Windows Media Player? Way to advance technology, Bill.
Knock-off artists abound everywhere. In car design, in pharmaceuticals, in politics, in advertising, in publishing.... I mean, when I see GMC Yukons dancing around my television screen like the iMacs from the "She's a Rainbow" commercial, I know it's gone too far. And, yes, I admit it: Creative Mac wasn't the first Macintosh Web site. But it's when these knock-off artists grow successful to the point of almost eliminating the originators that we fall into a pattern that threatens the well being of an industry and, in the case of something as important as computer technology, the economy as a whole.
But, as I say, I haven't yet begun dancing on the grave of Bill Gates. Even if the breakup of Microsoft were to have an impact on his lifestyle, which it won't, I wouldn't be satisfied. Why? It's not the right kind of victory. Like many a Mac loyalist, I had a vision of the end of the Microsoft in which the great masses rallied to the superiority of the Macintosh platform as if suddenly waking from a mass hypnosis that compelled them to purchase things like GMC Yukons and computers running the Windows operating system.
"Oh," they'd say. "That's odd. I was about to pull out my credit card and purchase a piece of crap. And, hey, what am I doing watching these terrible family-oriented sitcoms and voting for people who are stripping away my liberties? You were right about everything, Dave."
No, this solution is idiotic. As much as my heart longs for Bill Gates to be dragged into public square and flogged for his transgressions, I know this isn't the answer. If anything, it's given me sympathy for that devil. And now, rather than hoping for the end of Microsoft (except for their outstanding Mac development team), I find myself in the uncomfortable position of supporting Bill Gates.
Et tu, Reno
10. Set the oil derricks ablaze as I flee to my underground bunker in Redmond.
9. Buy up Philip Morris and bundle a carton of Marlboros with each Windows system, claiming that tobacco is intrinsic to the operating system.
8. Laugh all the way to the bank as a major company, say Xerox, sues the market leader in a given market, say Palm Computing, and I introduce my own product into that market, say the Pocket PC.
7. Use my Microsoft Central Control Console to disable Word Macro Virus protection in government computers, introducing a virus that changes all instances of the phrase "top secret" to "for Castro's eyes only."
6. Trigger the Windows HypnoScreenSaver, turning all Windows users into mindless zombies and ... oh, too late.
5. Unleash my robot army on the unsuspecting populace. (What else would I have been building with all that money?)
4. Put Janet Reno's face on that little animated Microsoft helper.
3. Move Microsoft to Korea, where "knockoff" isn't a dirty word.
2. Build a super particle accelerator and use it to etch the words "Gates Rules!" on the face of the moon.
And the No. 1 way Bill Gates should get his revenge on the world:
1. Three words"Business As Usual."
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Dave Nagel is the still somewhat new Senior Producer of Creative Mac. An eight-year veteran of the print publishing world, Nagel covered a broad range of topics in the areas of technology and marketing. As a Mac psychofanatic since 1987, he's finally landed his dream job: earning a living writing about his favorite topic. If you have something to say, please send a polite e-mail to [email protected]. (Let's not try to bring him down from his euphoria too soon.)
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