By Patrick Cottingham, Contributing Writer, See staff list for e-mail address
WARNING: Read at your own risk. The opinions implied by this article are not the opinions expressed by the staff at The Amiga Monitor.
The following is a letter (for which The Amiga Monitor received permission to reprint) from a customer, to a major PC-clone manufacturer, whereby the gentleman vents his frustration and points out the faults as he sees them of all parties involved.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED that The Amiga Monitor cannot be held liable for the content of the following text. This should be considered as a reprint of someone's opinion *only*.
NOTHING WHATSOEVER has been edited from the original text; not opinions. spelling errors, typos, NOTHING. This is exactly as I received it.
When I *do* get permission to edit a submission, I edit only for typos. I am not qualified to alter someone else's opinions or statements of facts as they see them.
To Whom It May Concern:
The stat of the computer manufacture industry and indeed, the computer industry as a whole, sickens me. The obvious alliance between manufactures such as yourself and the microsoft corporation is to the detriment of all consumers (except perhaps Bill Gates in his consumption of other companies) and smacks of the lowest cowardice. In shopping for a new computer I find it increasingly difficult to find any machine that does not bear the taint of Microsoft software, as well as being accompanied with tis inferior peripherals. It is obvious that you have been coerced and more likely threatened, by that corporation customization, I have yet to find a company that will allow me to build a PC free of Microsoft products. There are a variety of reasons why any rational, freedom-loving consumer should be extremely displeased with this state of affairs.
The purchase of your computer, which are riddled with Microsoft's applications like parasites on some large animal, deposits more money in the coffers of the corporation. These funds serve, in turn, to fuel it's acquisitions of other, smaller, companies, it's extortion of manufacturers, its Orwellian forays into media, it's systematic domination of the information super-highway, to fund its legal army, necessary to a corporation with it's level of quasi-legal, plagiaristic, underhanded dealing, and feed the Megolomania of Bill Gates.
That microsoft rules the world of computers cannot be denied. It is wholly unchallenged in its domination of the PC operating system market. It has actually offered aid and assistance to its sole serious competitor, Macintosh. Why, one might wonder does Microsoft not deal the fatal blow to this slowly dying company. Why is it allowed to sputter along while Microsoft has swallowed all its other competitors. The answer is a stroke of the purest evil genius. Thanks to the impotent half-presence of Macintosh computers, Microsoft is not a legal monopoly. It's browser's strangle-hold is now almost complete thanks to illegal bundling, inceentives to internet service providers, an effective web-pages, the preinstallation of corporations like yourself, the illegal use of Sun Microsystem's Java, and the blatant imitation of the first ingenious web-browser Netscape. It also produces the vast majority of all spread-sheet, word-processing, and online reference programs; all of which are blatant imitations of the original, superior programs.
The majority of this software is blatant and inferior plagiarism of earlier, superior works. Micorsoft Word's use is amazingly far-spread. It was certainly not the first program of its sort, and holds no advantages against any other. However thanks to bundling of companies such as yourself, and preconceived compatibility issues it has achieved a wholly underserved dominance. Shortly after the Multimedia revolution of the early to mid-ninties, several CD-ROM encyclopedias appeared, including Grolier's, and Compton's. Microsoft Encarta hold no superiority over these, but thanks to many of the same reasons it has come to rule the market. Much of the same can be said for Quicken and Money.
Even the cornerstone of Microsoft's evil empire, Windows, is totally derivative of the earlier superior Macintosh System. The concept of navigation by Windows and Icons was pioneered by this apple system of which Windows is but a pale shadow. Both featured expandable rectangles containing small graphics, which when clicked on twice by a mouse, begins a program or opens a file. Both also feature, near the top of these rectangles, words such as File and Edit, which when similarly manipulated display "pull down menus". Windows offers absolutely no advantage whatsoever over any of its predecessors, such as DOS of Macintosh System and is also inferior to later developments such as Linux, OS2 Warp, or later editions of the Macintosh System. Its disadvantages are numerous indeed. While running, Windows 95' devours RAM, and is extremely hesitant to release the user from its grasp. Even at the DOS prompt Windows unrelinquishing in it's hold on one's computer. In bitter irony, this creates a need for the one Microsoft program that Microsoft has no intention of ever marketing further, DOS. Using the first disk of the DOS installation set is the only way to achieve a boot truly free of window's resource-devouring grasp.
Windows also took a puzzling technological step backwards to the days of early Macintoshes in the necessity to perform a shutdown before turning of your computer. If this is not performed portions of ones hard drive become corrupted. This would seem no more than a nuisance except that Windows 95 freezes approximately ten times more frequently than DOS or Windows 3.x. It is an unadvertised feature that the spaces of hard drive corrupted often occur in vital areas of competitor's files. In essence Windows 95 is designed to freeze so that one is forced to turn off the computer, allowing Microsoft to subtly destroy a competing product.
One of the primary selling points of Window 95' was its touted "user friendliness". Microsoft's motive in this is not ease of use but in fact misinstruction. A graphical version of DOS would present no great diffulty to the understanding of novice computer. Instead the implemented systems of desktops and icons is highly misleading as to the actual functions performed by the computer. The understanding o files and directories, a basic knowledge crucial to the understanding of computer operation, is purposely misrepresented. The Windows Explorer system of management does nothing to help this situation. It is actually preset to hide all file extensions. The cunning o these apparent shortcomings is that it keeps new computer users never actually learn anything about computers thought the may use Microsoft applications every day. This reduces the number of the literate computer users in the world, hence the number competitive startups, the number of people who realize the superiority of non-Microsoft application, the number of people who understand Microsoft's practices. Another learning tool, Q-Basic, present in DOS and the original Windows is conspicuously missing from Windows 95' despite its huge size.
The one act of plagiarism that cannot be denied by any controtion of reality is the clear connection between Netscape and Internet Explorer. These programs are almost identical in both function and appearance. Even Netscape's letter-N-in-globe animation in the upper right-hand corner returned in the same position, but with an E. It is also typical to note that some versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer produce error messages when the home sight is specified as other than www.microsoft.com. Errors are also frequently produced when running Netscape under Windows 95'.
it is impossible to escape these products. When purchasing a PC ther are no options for purchase without Microsoft packaged software. This is due to contracts with Microsoft entered into by all major PC manufacturers requiring the "bundling" of various Microsoft programs. Not only does this raise the price of computers, but it gives Microsoft the funds necessary to create further restive pacts. The Gateway corporation is one offender. The only way in which one my buy a computer from Gateway without Microsoft Software is to order it without a hard disk, and install a separate hard disk oneself.
Microsoft also uses similar tactics to coerce software manufacturers not directlycompeting with it to make their software compatible only with Microsoft Windows 95. As stated before this systems offers no real advantage, but in many cases a hindrance to performance. The function this does serve is to force the hand of people wanting to use this software into purchsing Windows 95, in addition to the inevitable profit for Microsot.
Microsoft, however is not content with the mere control fo the world's PCs. It has created a Server operating Syste, Windows NT, which has now proliferated over the world's netowrks. It has released peripherals including mice, keyboards, and joysticks. Soon it will turn to hardware and PC producti0on and then, you Sirs, shall be swiftly either media. Its' presence is already felt greatly on the internet. It would be a simple matter for the next version of the Internet Explorer to block out offensive (read:competitors', or opponents') web pages. It has also formed an alliance with NBC, launching the successful MSNBC netowrk. Now Microsoft has entrused itself with giving America its (highly edited) news. It shall be interesting to see how objectively this conglomerate reports upon the much belated anti-trust hearings againgst Microsoft.
The picture of the future painted by Mr. Gates in the explaining his self-titled "simplicity jihad" is the most frightening aspect of his diabolical agenda. He glowingly describes a future in which all technology is computerized with the use of Windows variants. All of these miniature computers are networked (most liekly though the Microsoft Netowrk) and received software updates from Microsoft for a regular fee. This vision does not seem to contain any competition.
Should this agenda be accomplished, and given Microsoft's unprecedented success in the past, the most apt description appears not "simplicity" but "unprecedented control". Labor is rapidly becoming computerized; in the time it takes for this prediction to come to fruition all work may be done from a computer console. A good deal of recreation is already done through computers, as is most communication. These trends show no signs of stopping and when coupled with the order suggested by Bill Gates would amount to not only an incredible potential for surveilance but perhaps total contol over every aspect of human life.
This appalling state of affairs, despite recent token government intervention, is only worsening. A great factor in construction of this iron grip on America is the week willed compliance of computer manufactures like yourselves. This grip will only tighten unless those companies return to the tradition of Consumer Choice. You must allow customers to mandate their own software packages, which will also give them the option of lowering the cost of computers by jettisioning undesired application. It is the only way in which the most promising modern industry can advance into the next century with any hope of freedom.
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