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OPINION OCTOBER 9 , 2000
Talkin' Smack: Everything’s Getting Normal Again

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Radio Shock
So, anyway, to change the subject: Have you seen those new ads for the Microsoft Center at Radio Shack? The ones starring that football guy and that Lois Lane girl or whatever? Anyway, now Microsoft is in league with these purveyors of such fine products as RC dune buggies and transistor radios. What more appropriate place to showcase the innovations going on at Microsoft?

Oh, Radio Shack's not so bad. That's where I get my RCA splitters. But I remember back earlier in the '90s when I was in desperate need of a SCSI cable. I went into a Radio Shack and asked for one, to which the salesperson (at least I think he was one) replied, "Duh, what's a scuzzy?" All right, he didn't say "duh," but he did look amused at the concept of any technology not found in a TRaSh 80 (or whatever was around at the time).

Funny stuff. But that's good news for us Mac users because nothing is a clearer signal of the end of a company than a partnership with Radio Shack. Remember Tandy computers? Remember Compaq?

"Uh, Dave," you say, "Compaq is still around."

Whatever. They're practically gone.

So, in short, while Apple's struggling to rebuild its image with investors, despite making the finest machines in existence, Microsoft, with all its legal woes, is hanging tough on Wall Street and selling its crap at the local junk store.

But that's the way it's always been, hasn't it?

Corralling Corel
And speaking of returning to normal, most of you will have heard that the Big M is back to its old shenanigans—not just schlepping junk on the unwary consumer, but also digging its claws into its enemies.

This time the beneficiary of Microsoft's efforts is Corel, makers of WordPerfect and the CorelDraw Suite, as well as the lucky owners of Painter and Bryce. This latest strategic alliance nets Microsoft almost one-quarter of Corel.

So what does this mean? Well, for one thing, Microsoft will finally get a piece of the legal market (the one market in which WordPerfect, rather than Word, dominates).

For another, Microsoft scores a big share of the Linux platform, where Corel's products hold sway in the creative sector. How very Microsoft of Microsoft: buying its way into creative technology, otherwise known as an "unstainable niche."

So, for those of you keeping score at home, it's Apple in the dumps, Microsoft selling crap and shenanigans as usual. That's not so bad when you think about it. For the last few years, life hasn't made a whole lot of sense, what with Apple on the comeback trail and Microsoft under fire. It's all been a bit confusing for those of us who've gotten used to cheering for the underdog. But I guess things are finally returning to normal.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital DTP; host of the Creative Mac, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion and Synthetik Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative Mac, DCC Designer, DCC Workstation, Digital DTP, Digital Pro Sound, Digital Webcast, Hollywood Industry, Plug-in Central, Presentation Master, ProAudio.net and Video Systems sites. All are part of the Digital Media Net family of online industry hubs.

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