scratch-mark

Microsoft Lied, People Died

Alright, the title is tongue-in-cheek, but I just don’t know what to think when I read stuff like this. It’s been how many years now that Microsoft has been bashed in the head repeatedly, non-stop, by virtually everyone with a voice? And make no mistake in the world that the bashing is but for one purpose, which is: the implication that its success and wealth is unearned, undeserved.

Now here’s the cool thing about freedom, individualism, and why every fucking value you can name ought to be on the [free] market: I haven’t got the time or interest to determine, for myself, whether any of the endless charges and crap about Microsoft, et al, are true. What I do know is that since I bought my first x386 in 1990, began using it for business in 1992 — having gone through dozens of desktops, laptops, notebooks, and now run four or five enterprise level servers — all running MS software — I have increased my financial wealth by a factor of many thousands. And I cut paychecks and pay benefits and family heath care for a couple of dozen people.

There’s more. Throughout the whole of it I could have fired Microsoft any time I wanted. I could have gone Mac. I could have kept the hardware and gone Linux. Hell, I could have even overpaid for new hardware and Sunsoft and called it a "workstation environment."

Now imagine the scenario with a Federal Department of Computing in place. It’s funny, and I’m not talking about the folks over on Wendy’s blog, ’cause I’m sure they all know better. But more often than not, the railing against Microsoft has really more to do with a plea that the government "do something." In other words, there’s this implied fear that Bill Gates will rule the world. Well, given the history of things and the nature of the government as we know it, who would you rather take your chances with? You’re afraid of a business guy who has unarguably raised world wealth and decentralized wealth-generating power through his products and services, and you think that crooks in DC or your statehouse are going to cut you a better deal? Theft? Let’s talk about theft.

It’s not that I don’t get irked by MS from time-to-time, but on balance, I still keep voting MS with my dollars every single time.  And in this case, when I vote, I get what I want. You can vote otherwise (be my goddammed guest) and get what you want too.

Try that with the fuckers in DC or your state capital.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

23 Comments

  1. T. J. Madison on June 12, 2006 at 19:35

    The problem here is the concept of "intellectual property". The main argument is that IP is not compossible with tangible property. If IP isn't legit, then nearly all of Bill's money becomes the fruit of "government grants of monopoly priviledge". Suddenly Bill's company doesn't look so clean anymore.

    It goes without saying that further State intervention in Bill's business, regulatory or otherwise, would make things much, much worse. And all the non-IP based anti-trust complaints against Microsoft are crap too.

  2. Kyle Bennett on June 13, 2006 at 05:58

    "If IP isn't legit, then nearly all of Bill's money becomes the fruit of "government grants of monopoly priviledge"."

    Except that saying IP isn't 'compatible with tangible property' relies on a misunderstanding of the nature and genesis of property, one which boils down to all property being the fruit of 'givernment grants of monopoly priviledge'.

  3. Kyle Bennett on June 13, 2006 at 14:51

    "They've got a leash on the world called the U.N"

    Tail wagging the dog…

  4. Kyle Bennett on June 13, 2006 at 17:04

    "If you don't understand that, go find some of Stephan Kinsella's"

    What, you won't (or can't) make the argument yourself? Or was that just a blatant appeal to authority? I skimmed an article that I take to be representative of Kinsella's thoughts:

    http://tinyurl.com/gtqag

    It's an epistemological mess, mischaracterizing both the nature of property and the natural rights argument for IP, along with a host of underlying and consequent ideas.

    T.J.:

    "I certainly don't see tangible property as being a government grant of monopoly priviledge.

    I'm not surprised that you don't, but that's unfortunate since it is the underlying premise of your 'IP isn't actually property' argument. Property – tangible or otherwise – is a monopoly on the authority over that which is produced. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Either that monopoly is granted by government, or it isn't.

  5. Michael Shepherd on June 13, 2006 at 11:22

    Well said, Rich.

    Cheers

  6. Vulture 6 on June 13, 2006 at 11:41

    Amen!

  7. Vulture 6 on June 13, 2006 at 11:54

    Amen!

    Sucess is not evil, I think it is just a case of envy and lack of effort.

  8. T. J. Madison on June 13, 2006 at 14:29

    >>Except that saying IP isn't 'compatible with tangible property' relies on a misunderstanding of the nature and genesis of property, one which boils down to all property being the fruit of 'givernment grants of monopoly priviledge'.

    I certainly don't see tangible property as being a government grant of monopoly priviledge. What I do see is Microsoft, the MPAA, and the RIAA wanting to send the Boys in Blue out to my house if I reconfigure some of my tangible property (my computer) in a way that they disapprove of. This makes me more than a little suspicious of how they make their money.

  9. T. J. Madison on June 13, 2006 at 19:52

    Kyle, can you elaborate further? I don't (yet) see the contradiction.

  10. Leon on June 13, 2006 at 14:34

    I'm more afraid of America ruling the world. They've got a leash on the world called the U.N, whose rules they can break at their leisure.

  11. ~J~ on June 13, 2006 at 14:45

    Before I read your post, I thought "O here comes another Microsoft basher". But I'm pleasantly surprised. You've said great things in such a few words.

    People bash success, and like you, I'd never be earning what I am now, doing what I am now, enjoying myself like I am now if it weren't for Microsoft and their products which, despite the bugs, haven't let me down once.

    I've got no problems in my PC phoning Microsoft to let them know I'm a loyal customer. I'd sooner go to bed on a night knowing that my money has been spent on a genuine product with a genuine key rather than some random key-generator that could be been tracked as a fake and installed from a CD that I've torrented with god-knows what added in.

  12. Roy W. Wright on June 13, 2006 at 16:36

    Except that saying IP isn't 'compatible with tangible property' relies on a misunderstanding of the nature and genesis of property…

    No, it relies on a noncontradictory definition of property. If you don't understand that, go find some of Stephan Kinsella's writing on the subject. So-called intellectual property is a mockery of legitimate property rights.

  13. Roy W. Wright on June 13, 2006 at 16:40

    On the other hand, I personally believe that if they had to abide by free market principles tomorrow, Microsoft would find many ways to do so profitably. I do admire some of what they've done.

  14. durante vita on June 13, 2006 at 16:53

    I'm irked with Microsoft for different reasons than what is mentioned in your blog, like the only original thing from the company, which is .net. Everything else? Stolen! I mean, borrowed. I mean…

  15. Kyle Bennett on June 14, 2006 at 07:38

    TJ,

    Leaving out distinctions between tangible and intangible, etc., for the moment, can we agree that the concept of property includes the sole right to control the thing owned? If so, that is a monopoly over that thing. If we agree on that, then the next step is to look at where the monopoly right comes from.

    Either it comes from government or some authority, or it arises naturally through some other means, and is merely recognized by government, etc. To answer that, you have to look at how property comes to be property in the first place.

    Property comes into being when something is produced. Think Locke's "mixing one's labor with the land" for the basic idea, though his formulation is a bit off in the details.

    The idea is, you produce something, its yours. If you're with me so far, then the question you have to answer is: what are the differences between so-called intellectual property and tangible property, (I agree there are some), and do these differences lead to a contradiction in the context of their being property (I say they dont).

    Basically, if you agree with the above formulation, you'd then have to explain how either something can be produced, yet not become property, or that IP is not produced, but comes into being some other way.

    P.S., Roy, I didn't say it was a particularly good appeal to authority.

  16. Roy W. Wright on June 13, 2006 at 20:49

    What, you won't (or can't) make the argument yourself?

    Why would I, when it's stated so well elsewhere? Why clutter the comments? I see you've taken another approach entirely — hand-waving. I suppose that avoids clutter, too.

    Or was that just a blatant appeal to authority?

    I don't really know who would consider Kinsella an "authority." Why don't you state or link your arguments instead of making unsupported assertions and pedantic claims of logical superiority?

  17. T. J. Madison on June 14, 2006 at 08:56

    >>Basically, if you agree with the above formulation, you'd then have to explain how either something can be produced, yet not become property, or that IP is not produced, but comes into being some other way.

    My basic claim is that IP as such is not produced. Explanation follows:

    Let's say I write some code and store it on a storage device I own. The storage device was my property beforehand, but now it's been restructured into a more useful configuration. I've "mixed my labor" with the storage device to make it more valuable to me.

    I don't think it's meaningful to say that I've "produced something" independent of the storage device. All information must be contained on some media (books, drives, brains, etc.) which are subject to scarcity issues. Information isn't — it can't be "stolen" in the same sense that the media can. If I break into your house and copy all the data on your storage devices, I've definitely been trespassing, but I'm not a thief, because you still "have all your data" — your storage systems are unmodified. Similarly, software, music, or movie copying doesn't cause people to lose data access they previously had.

    IMHO the strongest moral defense Microsoft, et. al. have against "software piracy" is the EULA. Someone who agrees to Microsoft's EULA and then duplicates media acquired from Microsoft is likely now in breach of contract. (Side note: the terms of Microsoft's EULA are so insane that anyone who agrees to such deserve whatever horrors they get. Microsoft is, of course, well within their rights to offer such an ridiculous contract.) Note that this is quite different in principle from the notion of IP.

  18. Dave Peterson on June 14, 2006 at 09:15

    Totally.

  19. p on June 14, 2006 at 07:34

    Why should this come as a surprise?

  20. webloafer on June 17, 2006 at 18:15

    Interesting read. It is unforunate that at times I must defend a billionare, but I see the good MS has brought to my own life, and I am not one to bite the hand that feeds them.

  21. Wine on June 18, 2006 at 12:48

    I love microsoft because I wouldn't even be writing this without their programs, but the one thing I don't like is their certain approach to put out products fast instead of putting out superior ones.

  22. Simon on June 20, 2006 at 15:41

    Interesting article, I wrote something similar a little while ago titled "death of microsoft". I have a slightly different argument, but I think we are basically on the same side.

    http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com/2006/05/death-of-microsoft.html

    SimonB

  23. larryleniz on June 23, 2006 at 17:24

    the sad part of this all is the fact that judge weller is playing on the deceaseds family to hide his guilt an down playing on there sympathy i hope he is very proud of himself for pravoking the death of a beutiful person
    an turning a pillar of the community into a
    murderer, the cheif justice should demand judge wellers resignation to prevent this from happening again eventuly it will again.

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