During coffee break at my weekly poker game, the conversation turned to the munificence of the Gates Foundation and its founder. Of course I had to be the naysayer, pointing out that Bill never seemed to have much interest in giving away anything until he got in trouble with the Justice Department. I also suggested that at least some of the money being given away had unpleasant origins in terms of ruthless business deals and so on.
I was then told that Microsoft and Bill were also modern day heroes because they gave away free computers to schools. I countered by asking how many of those computers were Macs or had Linux installed. That caused mostly blank stares; the notion of altruism never is popular with poker players.
But one person did have an explanation: "Because Macs are not good computers", he said quite seriously. "If they were as good as Windows, they'd sell better. But they aren't. It's as simple as that."
I suppose there were many things I could have said. I could have pointed out that I can run all Windows software using Parallels Workstation. I could have mentioned the Unix underpinnings that give me access to boatloads of open source software. I could have pointed him toward several recent opinions that predict a coming increase in Mac sales.
But.. it was time to return to poker, so I let it go. I did think of that conversation again this morning when I saw that Microsoft is already treating its new "we'll be good" promises much as I thought they might (see "Days After Entering 12-Step Program, Microsoft Falls Off Wagon"), but for then, poker was what I was thinking about.
When I got home later that night, I counted up my change, and saw I had won a dollar and a half. I usually do a bit better , so I went to bed slightly disappointed. However, the next morning I found a dime I had overlooked, so felt much happier.
I know Bill would understand that.
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