The Microsoft Way

In defence of the business practices of software giant Microsoft, the Ayn Rand Institute states: "Like an increasing number of big businesses, Microsoft is being punished for being successful, for making products that people want to purchase. The trust-busting power-seekers of the federal and state governments – guided by false philosophic and economic ideas – are trampling on the right of Microsoft and thus on every individual American’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

For those of you who aren’t familiar with her work, Ayn Rand was a writer who believed that a hero was someone who runs a factory, that your own happiness comes first, and that the left is essentially motivated by its own inadequacy and jealousy of the right.

To the victor go the spoils, in other words, and by that logic you could argue that Microsoft deserves its place at the top of the software heap and the right to share its technology, for money, with whomever the company leaders choose.

They are currently involved in one anti-trust suit over software bundling and code sharing that almost resulted in the division of the company into two entities – operating system software and productivity software. Luckily for Microsoft, the ruling didn’t make it through the appeal, but the case is still ongoing.

With the U.S. in a recession, the whole antitrust suit would likely disappear with a slap on the wrist and a promise to try harder, but Microsoft is anything but repentant – if anything the Windows XP operating system, which was released to the public last week with the usual fanfare, is more controversial than any of their previous offerings.

First of all, Microsoft has made several alliances, whereby an XP user will be steered towards those companies.

For example, if you use the graphics feature that allows you to edit and then send your digital photos to a printer, with about four mouse clicks you can send them to Microsoft partner FujiFilm. If you don’t want to use FujiFilm, you’d rather use Kodak or another local processor, it’s slightly more complicated.

If you want to download MP3s, Windows XP can play them but won’t make copies unless you purchase an add-on. Instead, XP will direct you towards music sharing companies that stock Microsoft’s own Windows Media Audio files, which they believe can compete with MP3s on the online music market.

If you’re looking to travel, XP will direct you towards, Microsoft’s own online travel service. If you want news, you’ll be directed towards MSNBC, a partnership between Microsoft and NBC news. If you want to shop online, XP will direct you to the online retailers that they have formed partnerships with.


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