What is wrong with Microsoft?
How can it be possible for Microsoft to behave in a worse manner than
other corporations? Microsoft is just a group of people, just as IBM is.
How can one group of people be worse than another?
Is Bill Gates mentally retarded?I have never met Bill Gates and I do not know much about him, but here are some of the rumors I've heard:
(anybody who can verify or deny those or other rumors,
let me know)
Is his shyness a symptom of mental disorders?There are a lot of introverted people in this world (or shy people if you prefer that word). The people who I would put into this category consider themselves to be perfectly normal, and they put people like me into the categories of “rude” or “obnoxious” or “arrogant”. I would describe shy people as having an “emotional disorder”, “low self-esteem”, and/or a “defective brain”.
Shyness is common among children and teenagers, but it is something
that healthy children get over after they grow up. Bill Gates is not a
ten year old child. If the rumors are true that his wife has to introduce
him to people, his introverted qualities would be excusable for a child,
but not a grown man who has control of the computer software market. I
would classify this as a mental disorder.
Is rocking back and forth an insignificant muscle spasm?Some people may say his rocking back and forth is a weird but insignificant muscle spasm. I suggest we consider the possibility that it is a sign of a neurological defect; in other words, a defective brain.
We then have to ask ourselves, if his brain is damaged in such a manner
that it causes a rocking motion, is it possible that there is other damage
also? To put that question differently: what are the chances that his brain
was damaged in only the area that causes
His bad temper and slobberingOf all the rumors I mentioned, this is the most difficult to take seriously. Perhaps this rumor is based on fact and people exaggerate the slobbering and yelling to make it more entertaining.
But let's consider for a moment that this rumor is true. Do I have to
explain to you that if this rumor is
true, this would be an indication that there is something seriously wrong
with his brain? I would go so far as to say that anybody who considers
such behavior “healthy” is showing signs of having a mental disorder.
His 66,000 square foot homeI watched the Beverly Hillbillies TV program when I was a child, and I wanted to have a house like theirs when I grew up. I liked the double staircase that spiraled up to the second floor. I had dreams of a big house with a giant staircase, giant rooms, and a giant yard.
By the time I was a teenager I began to realize that the most desirable living conditions would be a small house with a small yard where I'm surrounded by people I like, and where I can walk outside and be among those people. To live in a giant house and a giant yard is equivalent to being in solitary confinement. Just to meet somebody I would have to take a trip along a long driveway. If I had kids I would have to drive them everywhere just so they could be with friends or go to school.
In other words, a giant house with a giant yard would be nothing but a big burden on my life, and it would be lonely. By the time I was 19 years old I was dreaming of an ordinary neighborhood with ordinary homes. I fantasized about a home in which I could open the door and be among people I liked by taking only a few steps out of the door. I didn't want to get into a car and drive just to meet people.
Eventually I did buy a house. It has 1400 square feet and is in an ordinary working class neighborhood where the lots are small. I soon noticed that even 1400 square feet is more than I can use. If I had a family with children, 1400 square feet could easily seem cramped, but for just me, it is excessive.
We should consider the possibility that the large size of Bill's home is an indication of a mental disorder. I think what is happening with Bill is that he sees the home not as a place to live but as a cure for his unhappiness. He may be reassuring himself on a routine basis that he is special because he has a big house. He may reassure himself that we admire him and love him.
Or, if you do not think that a 66,000 square foot house is a sign of a mental disorder, would there be a point at which a house was so large that you did consider it a sign of a mental disorder? What if Bill built a house that was as large as the nation of Switzerland? What if Bill had to install several airports inside his home simply so he could get from the bedroom to the kitchen? At what point would you say there may be a problem with Bill's mind?
What if Joe Average behaved like Bill Gates?If the rumors about Bill Gates are true, he is not a person you would invite over for dinner, nor is he a person that you would want to spend your Saturday with. Rather, he is the person you would be wondering about. Some people would feel sorry for him.
When a person becomes rich and famous we tend to overlook his neurotic qualities. When those neurotic qualities are too severe to ignore, we describe the person as “eccentric.” But when an ordinary citizen behaves in the same manner, he is described as a freak, or as a retard, or as mentally ill.
If consumers of a free enterprise economy were doing their job properly,
they would consider the possibility that Bill Gates has serious mental
defects; that he has never been happy; and that he has a fantasy that if
he can become rich and famous he will feel good about himself and become
happy. You should consider the possibility that Bill should be experimenting
with mental health drugs rather than influencing the world's computer industry.
What kind of people struggle to be billionaires?Some scientists struggle to develop new knowledge; some engineers struggle to develop new products; and some medical doctors struggle to do an excellent job at their practice. These people benefit the world. Some of them become rich as a side effect.
But there are also people who struggle for money and fame with no apparent concern for how they achieve the money or fame. They do not seem to care if the money comes from abusing people, abusing laws, or deceiving customers. They do not seem to care if their money comes from bribery, murder, marrying wealthy people, or making friends with people simply to take advantage of them. These people are a nuisance because the world does not benefit from their actions.
To rephrase that, some people become rich as a side effect of the wonderful work they do for the world, while some other people become rich because money was their primary goal, and if the world benefits from them, it is an inadvertent side effect of their attempt to become rich.
I would say that people who struggle for money with no concern for how they get it are suffering from an emotional disorder; ie, a defective brain. I suspect that they wonder why they are so miserable, and they come to the silly conclusion that if they could become rich and famous then we will love them, and they will become happy, and they will have friends. Hollywood and politics seems to attract large numbers of these people.
There are millions of unhappy people struggling to become rich. These
people are searching for what we might describe as the mythical “Fountain
Of Happiness”. But no matter how much money they get, they are
still the same miserable person they were when they were poor, so they
struggle to get even more money on the assumption that they do not have
enough. But because they are not concerned with where they get the money,
they often create trouble for the rest of society. Ideally, if we are going
to allow people to become rich, we should try to ensure that people can
become rich only as a side effect of the beneficial work they do.
Who wants to help Bill become rich?I faintly remember reading a remark by a Canadian college student. He was asked why he left Canada (where his friends and family were) to take a job at Microsoft in the USA after he graduated from college. He said that the jobs in Canada were paying about half of what Microsoft was offering. So he left his nation and the people he knew for the higher salary. He did not leave Canada because he believed that he would be doing more good for the world by working for Microsoft; rather, he was simply attracted to the money.
Perhaps he planned to make friends in the USA, but perhaps friends are not his concern in life. Perhaps he is just another unhappy person hoping that somehow, through money, he will find happiness. Perhaps he has fantasies of owning a 66,000 square foot home, and perhaps he imagines himself happy inside that home, and perhaps he imagines us admiring him.
In other words, Microsoft may attract people with emotional disorders. They may have little or no concern for whether the work they are doing is helping the world in any way. This would explain the willingness of the Microsoft employees to do things that are profitable for Microsoft but which I would classify as detrimental to the human race as a whole.
Millions of people complained that Bill Clinton has a problem because he wants “abnormal” amounts of sex; why doesn't anybody complain that Microsoft employees have a problem for having “abnormal” cravings for money? Which is really the most detrimental to society:
a) A president who wants sex once in a while, or
A better situation would be a world in which only happy, healthy people are allowed to get control of businesses and governments. Imagine a world in which business executives were struggling to make a better place for us all to live, rather than struggling merely for money.
The thousands of carpenters that built Bill's home could have been doing something useful for society instead of making a castle. The thousands of Microsoft programmers who waste their time trying to duplicate Netscape and other software could be doing something productive with their time. Consider the possibility that Bill Gates belongs in a mental hospital rather than a corporate board room.
If the rumors about Bill are true, there is a chance that his mental disorder is genetic, in which case his children may be pick up his mental disorders. The image of unhappy, spastic children rocking back and forth, losing their temper and spraying saliva on one another, and being too introverted to play with other children is a sad image. In a better world, retarded people would be medicated, not breeding themselves, taking leadership positions in society, voting, or passing judgment on other people's lives (eg, a jury).
Is Microsoft a monopoly?
Unfortunately, most people choose to live and behave like Bevis
and Butthead. When they screw up their lives and/or the world,
they pretend that they are innocent victims of monopolies, South American
drug dealers, or intangible concepts (such as “ignorance” or “poverty”).
Some people insist that they are just one little fish in a very large ocean,
and that nothing they do has any effect on the world.
Our free enterprise economy is expecting too much of usConsumers of a free enterprise economy are suppose to pass judgment on which businesses deserve to be supported and which do not. Consumers are supposed to analyze the behavior and the products of Microsoft and make a decision on whether this company deserves to exist or not. However, the products in the world today are complex, and there are thousands of products. They are too many products and too many companies for any individual to keep track of and pass judgment about.
Even if consumers were willing to take responsibility for the economy, the complexities of the economy today prevent any single person from doing a good job. The free enterprise system we have today may have worked fairly well in a primitive, farming society, but it needs adjustments to better fit the technically advanced societies of today. The free enterprise system also needs to be adjusted to take into account the fact that the common person is unwilling to perform the job he is suppose to perform.
Getting back to the issue of Microsoft, if Microsoft was truly capable of forcing people to buy their products, why haven't they forced me to buy Microsoft Word?
Microsoft is a monopoly only because millions of people around the world have made it a monopoly. Monopolies require two conditions in order for them to develop and continue to exist:
The consumers of Microsoft products are providing Microsoft with lots of profit, and they are denying money to the other companies. This allows Microsoft to grow to a large size, while causing other companies to shrink or go bankrupt.
Consumers can refuse to buy Microsoft Word, but many of them prefer it over the alternatives. They consider Microsoft Word to be the superior product. They could buy a word processor that they do not like quite as much, thereby denying the sale to Microsoft on the grounds that Microsoft is not behaving properly, but they do not want to do that. Consumers rarely purchase products according to whether a company is behaving properly .
Many years ago IBM offered their OS/2 operating system. Consumers had a choice of that point between switching from Microsoft to IBM for their operating system. Borland spent money developing a compiler for OS/2. But the majority of consumers around the world ignored the options they were given. They chose to buy Microsoft Windows 3.1 and MS-DOS. This gave Microsoft enormous amounts of profit.
Did people buy Microsoft Windows 3.1 because Microsoft was a monopoly? Did they purchase Windows because it was superior over OS/2? No, they bought it for a variety of silly reasons. Furthermore, IBM was much larger than Microsoft, which means consumers were purchasing Windows from a smaller company. If large companies have more control over consumers than small companies, IBM should have dominated the computer market.
The world today is simply too complex to expect the average person to make decisions on which operating system should be purchased and which company should be kept in business. The free enterprise systems that nations use today are inadequate to cope with the problems we face. It is impractical today to expect consumers to pass judgment on so many complex products and companies.
See Why the government
should strip Microsoft of Windows for more about this monopoly issue.
Does Microsoft force people to work for them?Nobody is forced to accept a job at Microsoft, and the people who work at Microsoft are free to leave.
I met a hardware engineer who refuses to work on military projects. He has several times accepted lower paying jobs rather than high paying military work. If all engineers were like him, every nation would have extreme difficulty developing weapons. Nobody is forcing the world to spend billions of dollars a year on weapons development, wars, and militaries. People have a choice, but most people choose to spend a lot of their money and time fighting with each other.
The employees of Microsoft could leave Microsoft tomorrow to start new businesses or find new jobs. But they would rather have the security and high pay that they get from Microsoft.
Many people complain that Microsoft violates antitrust laws. Who at Microsoft is doing this? Is Bill Gates engaging in these illegal activities all by himself? No, the employees of Microsoft will mindlessly do almost anything Bill Gates requests of them.
Bill Gates is described by many people as “powerful". What is power? Why does Bill have power but not you and me?
Bill's power comes only from the horde of employees who do whatever
Bill requests. If Bill requested his employees to engage in a dishonest
or immoral act, the employees could
refuse. Actually, they could go beyond simply refusing. They could hold
a meeting with the stockholders and announce:
“Bill wants us to engage in illegal activities, and we, the employees, demand that he be removed from his position and be replaced by someone with higher moral standards. We refuse to work for executives who cannot contribute something of value to society.”
Rarely do employees show any concern for what they are doing. Most of them only want a paycheck, and they will do almost anything to get that paycheck. Many people do not care if their job requires them to cheat consumers, abuse laws, or cheat other companies.
If employees would show more concern for what they are doing, the world would become a better place.
Another perspective of LinuxLife is how you look at it, and there are many ways to look at the Linux issue. Here is another perspective.
Linux has already cost the human race a lot of money to get to the point where is today, and we will spend a lot more money before it is ready for the common person. Borland has spent a lot of money to develop their Kylix compiler for it; IBM is spending millions of dollars to bring Linux to their customers; and a lot of other people are putting a lot of money and time into helping Linux become an alternative to Windows.
Linux is a significant undertaking to the world. Borland could have spent their time and money improving their existing products rather than creating a compiler for Linux. IBM could also be spending their time and money improving their products rather than pushing Linux.
Why is the world spending so much money on Linux? As I mentioned in another document, different people are pushing for Linux for different reasons. I think most of the people today who are pushing for Linux simply want an alternative to Microsoft Windows. So we could say the primary reason the world today is pouring all this money into Linux is because Microsoft has annoyed so many thousands of people that they have decided to pour millions of dollars into developing an alternative to Windows.
If Microsoft was not irritating so many people, not much money would be spent on Linux development. The open source movement that develops Linux would still exist, but it would be an even more insignificant movement than it is today.
Most companies would not have bothered with Linux if they were happy with Microsoft. Instead, their time and money would have been spent improving the products they already have, and creating new products.
We could describe the Linux movement of today as a reaction to the bad
behavior of Microsoft. We could say that Microsoft is responsible
for this waste of money and talent. We could say Microsoft is the reason
all this money has been diverted from what could have been productive activities.