Friday, June 26, 21:33 EDT
I'm in Williamsburg, VA. Irrelevant, I suppose, but so is most of this page.

Well, as the entire world knows by now, Windows 98 is on sale. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've no intention of paying $100 US for what's basically an upgrade to Win95. Actually, I'm planning on installing Linux. It's an excellent OS from everything I've seen, and its very existence is an act of defiance against Microsoft.

I know it's somewhat fashionable at the moment to dislike Microsoft, but there're real reasons for that. Microsoft has more power than it's safe to allow any one individual or institution, and it consistently abuses this power. And how many people are really doing anything about it? Sure, some will grumble, but they'll still shell out $100 for Win98, or in the case of a manufacturer, acquiesce quietly to whatever demands Gates makes. The mainstream media will continue to give Microsoft all the free publicity it wants, ignoring whatever alternatives exist, and leaving the sheep we refer to as the general public believing that there aren't any alternatives.

Read, for example, this article on ZDNet. Bill Gates' sheer arrogance shines through every word he says. He knows that OEM's will install Internet Explorer, and be grateful for the privilege, and he knows that Win98 or its successor will dominate (read: gain a crushing stranglehold on the market), just as Win95 does now.

The question of whether Microsoft is a monopoly is laughable. ("So, in your opinion, is Microsoft a monopoly?" "Well, let's see, they have a 90% or better market share, and use this to instantly crush anyone who might represent competition... Nah...") Whether it's illegal or not is another matter. I cringe every time I see the US government come anywhere near the computer industry (witness what's happening to encryption), but it's clear that Something Needs To Be Done.

It's not as if I'm saying anything original here. The simple truth is that Microsoft has too much power, and that too few people care - or know there's anything to care about.

Ok, I feel better now.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 26
tags: topics/technical