Well, I wanted to put in my two cents and write a bit about Microsoft and my beliefs on
them in general. Please note that these are _my_ opinions. Your opinion may differ, and that is the beauty of free will. If you feel the need to send me an email and flame me, please be advised I will post your letter here and make fun of you. Why? Because this is _my_ website, and I think this is a perfectly reasonable place to place my opinions. You are not going to change my mind, or convice me of the greatness of MS products. I don't expect that these words will change your mind. If you want to write your opinion then get your own website. Easy as that.
So if you haven't figured it out yet, I do not care much for Microsoft (hereafter "MS"). It is not my intention to list every single flaw with MS, because there are many sites that do this already. I want my discussion to be a bit more general, and a bit less specific. There are generally three reasons why I don't like MS. First, their software is shit in the areas of security, and overall quality in general. Second, I don't like their predatory business practices. And third, they gouge their customers and treat them like shit.
Quality of MS software and Security
It is no secret that MS products are bug-ridden, easily compromised, and generally of low quality by any measure. Indeed, the 'crashability' of MS products has become something of a joke in the computing world. To be fair, all software written by humans will have bugs in it, but MS seems to go that extra mile to bring you the most, and the very greatest for your money. And worse, when discovered, MS has a nasty habit of ignoring these bugs, or at least selectively deciding which to fix. Sometimes they keep their bug fixes in-house, and eventually release them as a new OS (Win 95 -> 98 anyone?), which of course you have to pay for. Many well-respected security monitoring sites have stated that people should stop using MS Internet Explorer entirely because of the swiss-cheese security and reluctance of MS to fix the problems (Don't worry, the bugs will be fixed when MS releases 'Longhorn' in the next five years). To me, it seems incomprehensible that a company with $50 Billion in the bank cannot hire a few people to clean up these security issues (or just write decent code in the first place) while there are several operating systems with much better security records that are maintained by volunteers. Clearly, the price of something does not signify any measure of quality.
Predatory business practices
MS is a predatory monopolist twice convicted of anti-trust laws. Would you buy a product from any other company with this sort of record? MS was found guilty and sentenced, but because they bought off the US Department of Justice they walked away with little more than a slap on the wrist. MS has been sued successfully many, many times for various degrees of illegal business practices , but because of their deep pockets MS will typically just settle out of court for a tidy sum (...to you and me, but peanuts to them). Even when convicted and punished, MS has an almost machiavelian ability to turn it to their advantage (from Slashdot):
Microsoft has be fighting tooth and nail for years to finish off apple in the Educational market. This is brilliant. They take their fine, pay it in software whose value has been bloated by the monopoly ($100 dollars for a wordprocessor, wtf?), and get thosands (millions?) of schools teaching the next gen of lusers to use Microsoft, and only Microsoft ... It's amazing how Microsoft has turned every aspect of this trial to their advantage. I'd be sickened if it wasn't so impressive...
It is obvious that MS has been backing a farsical lawsuit by soon to be extinct shills SCO about supposed IP violations in the Linux kernel. Indeed MS has a long history of anti-competitive behavior towards real or imagined threats to their empire. MS has shown that they are not above misleading advertising campaigns that try to dupe consumers. In another controversial move, MS decided to buy Giant, a small company that makes anti-spyware apps. So MS rebrands the product, and may decide to sell it. (Note: MS is still releasing this product for free as of March 2006, however, virus writers have already written a trojan that disables the software, and there have been some reports that the program reports and removes legitimate software as spyware) . Can you say conflict of interest? How about racketeering? Would you pay for a product from any company whose sole purpose is to fix problems with another product from the same company that you already bought? Sheesh. It remains to be seen if, and for how much MS will sell this for, but given their track record it seems a certainty.
Customer or serf?
A sad fact is that MS employs some of it's most desgusting tactics on the people who made them what they are ... thier customers. One example in particular is how MS makes their products non-backwards compatable. Can't view your Office 95 docs in Office 97? Tough, get an upgrade. Rather than owning your _personal_ documents "What we will get with Microsoft is a three-year lease on a health record we need to keep for 100 years."
But while we're on the subject of file formats, let's pause for a moment in frank admiration of the way in which Microsoft brazenly built backward-incompatibility into its product. By initially making it virtually impossible to maintain a heterogenous environment of Word 95 and Word 97 systems, Microsoft offered its customers that most eloquent of arguments for upgrading: the delicate sound of a revolver being cocked somewhere just out of sight.
-Dan Martinez source
MS loves money, and to keep it coming in they need to force their customers into a perpetual upgrade cycle. Unlike most companies, what you buy from MS isn't yours for life, rather you pay to 'borrow' it until MS end-of-lifes it and forces you to pay to borrow a 'new and improved' version. Now let's talk about the Windows EULA , or as I like to call it ... your passport to serfdom. Did you know that when you run windows you give MS administrator privilege on _your_ computer to install and change whatever they want? Do you think if your software crashes, or is otherwise defective you have any sort of recourse? No, the EULA states that your new XP software isn't guaranteed to work at all:
12. DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. The Limited Warranty that appears above is the only express warranty made to you and is provided in lieu of any other express warranties (if any) created by any documentation, packaging, or other communications. Except for the Limited Warranty and to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft and its suppliers provide the Product and support services (if any) AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS, and hereby disclaim all other warranties and conditions, either express, implied or statutory, including, but not limited to, any (if any) implied warranties, duties or conditions of merchantability, of fitness for a particular purpose, of reliability or availability, of accuracy or completeness of responses, of results, of workmanlike effort, of lack of viruses, and of lack of negligence, all with regard to the Product, and the provision of or failure to provide support or other services, information, software, and related content through the Product or otherwise arising out of the use of the Product.
Did you know that you are sending your personal information to secret MS servers for unknown purposes? Did you know that your XP box mysteriously 'phones home' to report your private HDD searches and which DVDs you watch to MS headquarters?
Consent to Use of Data. You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered in any manner as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Product
Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you. Microsoft may disclose this information to others, but not in a form that personally identifies you
Internet Gaming/Update Features. If you choose to utilize the Internet gaming or update features within the Product, it is necessary to use certain computer system, hardware, and software information to implement the features. By using these features, you explicitly authorize Microsoft or its designated agent to access and utilize the necessary information for Internet gaming and/or updating purposes. Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you. Microsoft may disclose this information to others, but not in a form that personally identifies you
So, after all that is there anything nice I can find to say about MS? Well, they did help (to a huge degree) to spur on the PC revolution. Anyone who's anyone has a PC at home with a net connection. This is for a large part because they made it so damn easy to point and click your way through any task. Anecdotally, I have heard that Windows XP is considerably better than past versions in terms of stability, however I would still never run it because of the privacy issues I touched upon earlier. And also, every once in a while, I just have to admire them for their frighteningly clinical manueverings and business practices to poise themselves as probably the most successful capitalist venture in modern history. Then I bit my lip and remember, they're evil, Evil, EVIL!!!
Links for more reading
And just to show how childish I am, here's some amusing anagrams of "Microsoft Windows" courtesy of the Internet Anagram Server, with punctuation embellishment of course:
Disc not so firm, wow!
Disco fit: Worm owns.
WIN Soft: Disco worm.
To disc if worms won.
Disc info: Worm stow.
Disc info: MS rot. Wow!
Disc foist, worm won.
Disc fit: Worm own OS.
Disc of sin. Worm two!
Disc of MS Win rot. Ow!
Disc of writ: MS Own. O!
Disc of its worm now...
Disc isn't for mo' wow!
MS doc if I own worst.
If in MS, doc rots. Wow!
IF WIN doc: Worm toss!
Doc foists WIN worm.
Doc fit: Is worm sown?
Doc of MS WIN is wort.
Coif Windows, Mr. Sot.
It conforms widows.
...and the strangely zen:
Is Windows comfort?
Discomfort, WIN sow.