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Today's Flame 

September 2, 1998 |, San Francisco | Issue #002

Why Microsoft Must Be Stopped

Bill Gates, courtest of MicrosoftToday's theme follows a popular premise — that the Microsoft Corporation is evil — to its logical conclusion: it must be stopped.

Why is Microsoft evil? Like the evil corporations featured in many of horror and sci-fi flicks, Microsoft was founded with a mission of world dominance. Not only did Bill Gates and crew set an ambitious goal, but they've spent the last twenty-three years proving they'll do anything to fullfill that mission. Anything.

Of course, any number of companies have set extremely aggressive goals. The difference? With an immense will to power, the builders of Microsoft are on the verge of success — via their strangleholds on the personal computing and Internet markets, on the flow of data through all the key sectors of every human economy, from finance to the arts, from Excel to the Front Page.

I would suggest that you go to the Redmond, Washington headquarters of Microsoft, to the grand plaza where the Microsoft megalomaniacal mission is literally written in stone, beneath a shrunken depiction of the earth: "A computer on every desktop and in every home running Microsoft software." But you'll probably get picked up by Microsoft security in a Microsoft minute.

I might suggest that you speak with one of the dozens of former Microsoft competitors that were destroyed by the company's wantonly destructive business practices. But not a one will take your call — they're all under non-disclosure, the insidious state of silence that is routine for anyone who has encountered the Evil Empire. The situation on the ground is so bad that even Janet Reno has complained about Microsoft's gag orders.

Or I might suggest that you follow the US Department of Justice's suit against Microsoft. Here's a case where Microsoft's power might be thwarted. Hah. Perhaps you've clued into the likelihood that Microsoft will get off scot-free or at worse with a minor slap to the hand. This is America after all. The legal system works on a singular principle, what I call the "OJ factor" — it's not about right or wrong, or even race: if you have enough money, you can beat the system. As Bill Clinton pointed out in Yale Law School seminar 25 years ago: corporate America has too much power and money ever to be tamed, even by the democratic institutions the young man from Arkansas believed in (New York Times, Sept. 16, 1998, p. A25).

Microsoft is the embodiment of power without honor, greed without purpose, dominance without respect. It has earned all the scorn it receives, and more.

-- Seth Ross

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