Microsoft has once again demonstrated that it feels no loyalty or responsibility
to anyone but itself. Microsoft lost $79 billion in valuation on Monday.
But to such a monolith this sum is a mere drop in the bucket, a temporary
sting. This company is so large and so arrogant that there is nothing
to keep it at the bargaining table with government anti-trust lawyers.
By walking away, Microsoft forced the government to play the bad guy and
hand down a punative ruling. In the end, Microsoft is hurt, but not as
much as the companies with no culpability in the matter whose stock valuation
has gone through the floor. I'd call these companies innocent bystanders
who were on the receiving end of the market slaughter.
Granted, experts would argue that the market, particularly NASDAQ, was
due for a correction. On the other hand, if Microsoft had stayed at the
bargaining table and worked out a settlement, perhaps the carnage would
have been less severe. But Microsoft has gotten used to throwing its weight
around with competitors and the judiciary alike. If regulators had prevented
Microsoft from becoming the 900 pound gorilla in the first place, Microsoft's
predatory and dominating practices might have been curtailed earlier.
Internet Explorer (and eventually what it is worth) should be awarded
to Netscape (AOL) and Windows should be placed in the public domain, i.e.
taken away from Microsoft as a tool with which to exert their monopoly
power. Both remedies fit the case well and resolve it's major issues.
A promise to behave better in the future is not enough. Microsoft should
take the responsibility for it's illegal behavior.
I have heard that Mac OS X is going to have NeXt technology despite
the Mac OS name. Do you think NeXt will become popular again, and replace
the Mac OS technology in future versions of the Mac OS?
Pretty much, Apple's woes left a valuable trademark and some dead end
technology. It was a good opportunity for the NeXT technology to buy a
company with a good and recognizable image, Apple, and get paid in doing
so. The current technology directions are a blend but predominantly from
NeXT. Hey, Apple had a lot of bad direction for a long time. That's possible
with poor upper leadership, beginning with the BOD, when you're profitable
enough to deny the fact that you should have been much more profitable
and successful. It's easier to take such shots from not having been a
part of it. The situation may have much more of two sides. All great companies
have their major problems on occasion. Look how close Chrysler came to
Would you think of Microsoft as a copy-cat (you can certainly remember
that lawsuit against Microsoft)? Why?
Microsoft had their style of machine and Apple had theirs. But Microsoft
chose to go after the Apple style by moving in on it and negotiating rights
to it with critical 'fine print' passages. Up until then, Microsoft users
had steadfastly held out against Apple's GUI as being 'candy' and not
productive. They all changed their tunes as Microsoft came closer and
closer to what Apple had. It showed that these users weren't thinking
for themselves as much as they were being bigoted and holding out for
their own way, their own selection, which was Microsoft. They never did
loudly proclaim that they were wrong or dumb not to see the light sooner.
Hey, that's how it goes in life. The victors can always cover their blunders.
Regarding David Pogue's article on Macworld (January 2000): do you
think Apple can retain that stainless steel window interface, with no
Favourites drawer, no volume knob on QuickTime now that people are complaining
I can't comment on an article that I don't remember. I know that a lot
of people bitterly complain about the QuickTime Player, but I actually
liked it all along. My usage was general and minimal compared to those
with complaints. For example, I don't have enough time to browse much
and I don't need many favorites.
What do you think of Johnathan Ive (the hot new British chief designer
I don't think that there's much controversy here and I don't think that
more comments are needed. I've never heard anyone really complain.
Apple's software technology seems to be more and more non-intuitive.
Would you blame Ive or Jobs on it?
I have problems with such things myself, but then I think that it's non-intuitive
how to open many products to change a battery, or just how to set a clock.
The best clues are subtle human clues, like finger ridges, instead of
obnoxious wording and grotesque button designs. I like my living spaces
when they are clean and uncluttered. I organize my computer desktop the
same way. So I don't mind having attractive products with fewer, and less
noticeable, cables. I also don't mind having attractive software controls,
even if there has to be a few memorized secrets to operating them. I think
that we are all in-between having simplicity and complexity, but in computers
complexity has won out for too long. Windows that give the impression
"my functionality is more important than human ideas of beauty" don't
What part of Apple does Jobs play? He designs the specifications? The
hardware, perhaps? Or does he sign documents and prepare Macworld Expos
I'm sorry, but I can't give you any specifics. I'd say that the direction
of the company is strongly under his own control and it's good. That includes
products, profitability, look and feel, and much more.