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In Search of a Little Economic Security
BILL GATES AND OUR SEARCH
FOR A LITTLE ECONOMIC SECURITY
BG never wanted to hire anyone. MS would build
the tightest code, etc., with the least payroll, and
sock away cash -- insolvency would never knock
at the door. His top lieutenants made him hire.
They hired top talent without experience and proved
microcomputer programs could compete in business
with mains and minis. To keep payroll down they
hired with options. They hired many who worked
until they burned out and quit as millionaires.
(None of this is written as a defense against AM or
the DOJ action. What is today a near monopoly in
too many markets must be made to obey our laws
under which MS was able to grow, and others now
have the same right.)
BG ought to put on our List a voice that would tell
us what their fears are. This is my short imagined
version of some of them.
Having brought together at a great campus site
thousands of brilliant youngsters, they have to
continue to meet payroll and do the applications
that will make money for themselves and save
money for their customers. (Again, I do not defend
their marketing -- I am only expressing their need.)
The challenges and opportunities in the information
revolution are terribly inviting -- many will not be
met except by giant, well run, deep pocketed firms.
Think of what you would like in terms of a perfect
combination of content, delivery, interactivity, etc.,
including education, home business, shopping,
banking, travel, and possible services, etc., and how
incomplete much of what we have is -- how slow it
will improve without continued enormous effort by
the likes of MS people.
This whole AM, DOJ, Congressional inquiry
matter will, I trust, force MS to engage in fairer
marketing practices and less monopolistic motive
in planning and acquisition of peripheral firms.
But from their perspective, if their revenues are
diminished their better effort will be curtailed:
Will others in their markets -- software,
content, delivery, etc., -- do nearly as well for
Perhaps they will, but without revenues
in very high amount, will it really be possible?
The aforesaid notions of what BG and MS may
be thinking do not provide answers. Monopoly
positions in lucrative markets do provide much
of what we have that we like. The flagrant
missing elements in what we have, include that
little bit of economic security for competing talents
that will outperform MS and any other giant in
And missing also is the grand scale investment
that might provide a learning notebook computer
to students who can't afford but otherwise
demonstrate they ought to have one.
Bringing MS into compliance with the law and
fair business practice is a necessary task -- and
we are trying here to do it.
Providing federal support for competitors and
students in an effective supplementary system to
the market is also a necessary task that may be
beyond the immediate scope of AM, but may
nevertheless remain the more important unmet
need once MS' revenues are reduced by the
forces of fair competition.
No doubt fair and effective funding of such a
supplementary system requires new and innovative
information system applications. If MS would get
to work on them, I'd be tempted to switch sides and
defend the softer elements of their hard ball game.
John Gelles email address: email@example.com
http://www.myturn.org ; http://www.rain.org/~jjgelles/
URL's above seek enactment of an economic bill of rights.