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Microsoft objects to unfair play

© September 2003 Tony Lawrence
Mon Sep 8 12:51:25 GMT 2003

Japan, China, and South Korea have plans to develop their own OS (probably Open Source) so that they won't have to buy Microsoft.

As you might expect, Microsoft, always the champion of fairness, honesty, and competitive environments, doesn't like the idea.

"We'd like to see the market decide who the winners are in the software industry," Tom Robertson, Microsoft's Tokyo-based director for government affairs in Asia, told Reuters in a telephone interview. "Governments should not be in the position to decide who the winners are," Robertson said.

Aside from commenting on how it was more dirty dealing and behind the scenes vendor pressure than open markets that made Microsoft what it is today, I'd also like to point out that governments do quite often put themselves in the position of deciding who wins.

Here in the U.S., we gave a monopoly to the phone company once because we thought it was the best thing to do. We manipulate taxes to try to direct behavior in directions we feel are good for the country as a whole: home mortgage deductions, oil well depletion allowances and more. We also levy taxes on some foreign goods to give more advantage to the homeland companies who also produce those goods. Governments all over the world do these things and always have. This is no different: these countries feel that their economies would be better served if Microsoft doesn't have the choke hold position it has in the United States.

I'm sure Microsoft wouldn't make a peep if the U.S. Government decided that they wouldn't use anything BUT Microsoft. That would be just fine, I'm sure. That nasty Open Source is dangerous stuff, they'd say, and it's In All Our Best Interests to use nothing but genuine, home grown, 100% certified Microsoft products. Hoorah, God Bless the American way and all that.

That's probably the biggest objection I have here: pure hypocrisy. Microsoft doesn't believe in fair and open competion at all, and never has. They've always played dirty, and I think somewhere there is even a quote from Bill or Ballmer saying that they absolutely do NOT want a level playing field. They want the deck stacked in their favor always. Maybe it isn't "fair" for these countries to shut out Microsoft, but it is laughable that Microsoft complains about it.

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