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Reminder: Microsoft Is Not Evil

A reader recently passed on a dire analysis of Windows Vista that her son had sent. It read:

It seems that Microsoft has decided that the users of its software no longer should have the privilege to have in their possession a copy of the operating system itself. What you 'buy' when you get Vista is just a complex communications package.

And it is a very poor one at that. It takes a lot of system resources, and does not use them very well. What it does is to contact a server, online, at Microsoft, and run the operating system there. If Microsoft's servers go down for some reason, everyone who is operating under Vista can no longer boot and operate their computers. Microsoft envisions that this will keep their extravagantly-priced operating system software from being pirated.

One major problem with this scheme is that this will eat up about 85 percent of the available communications capability for what ever connection to the Internet a person has. The slower ones (the dial-up connections, which are about 75 percent of all the private connections) will be so slow that they will be virtually unusable. What used to take 10 minutes or so to download now will take hours.

This has the salubrious effect (for Microsoft) of putting them in the driver's seat with the Internet Service Providers, who now all will be forced to go to DSL, cable, satellite or some such. It also positions them nicely to begin to charge fees by the use for every piece of software that a person runs.

There was more in the original e-mail: All of it false.

This is, unfortunately, not an isolated view. To judge from my e-mail and postings in my chat and on this blog, a lot of people seem to think Microsoft is a uniquely malevolent entity, one that that cannot be accorded any of the rights we might grant to any other corporation.

I'm no fan of many of Microsoft's products. The company's business practices have repeatedly (and understandably) landed it in court. But these things don't mean that Microsoft is out to enslave its users.

Look, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer are not evil overlords. Its headquarters are a bland corporate campus, not a secret lunar base. Its Web address is at, not The company still has to persuade people to use its software instead of going with somebody else's.

I'm just sayin'...

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 26, 2007; 1:14 AM ET
Categories:  The business we have chosen  
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