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arrogance toward customers
I don't want to get embroiled in the
but I think that there's a point about the industry to note in the posting
that I'm commenting on:
At 02:17 PM 11/12/97 -0500, Norm wrote:
> Reading the article only enforces what I've known for years, the
>vast majority of the computing public are nothing but chumps (the word
>'lemmings' comes to mind too). As far as I'm concerned M$'s marketshare
>only brings home what P T Barnum said years ago.
I want to point out the contrast and the contradiction between the high
moral stance taken by advocates of OS/2 (an IBM product) and the current
spate of "Work the Web" commercials. Have you seen these commercials? They
are arrogant beyond, well almost beyond, belief. They make billg look like
the Woz in comparison. They are intentionally anti-consumer, anti-student,
anti-scholar. They come from Lotus, an IBM company. From these commercials,
I think that IBM must agree that consumers are chumps, lemmings, and
suckers. Yet, somehow, we are talking on this list as if that attitude
characterizes only Microsoft.
If there is a belief in the software publishing community that customers
are chumps, and if that belief is held by Microsoft, I want to urge you to
recognize or admit that this belief is far, far from being restricted to
The first license agreement came from IBM (you know, the piece of paper
that says, "Warranties! You don't need no stinkin' warranties!") not from
Microsoft. The revisions to the Uniform Commercial Code that will largely
eliminate liability for software defects were drafted with significant
influence from lawyers for IBM and Apple and Oracle and Intel and
Microsoft (and many others), not just Microsoft. These revisions will also
have significant anti-competitive effects (see my talk Friday, or check
http://www.badsoftware.com/nader.htm for the paper that goes with the talk).
Microsoft happens to be the biggest kid on its block, but we have serious
problems with product quality, with premature shipment of bad code, with
false advertising, and terrible support -- we have these problems
throughout the industry. Competition among the players in this industry is
shrinking--and that's a big problem because the sorry state of product
quality will be fixed only by competition or by regulation--but that
competition isn't being killed off just by Microsoft.
I have tremendous respect for IBM, as I do for Microsoft. But I think that
the Work the Web commercials from IBM, the FTC action against Apple (see
http://www.ftc.gov/os/9708/c3763ord.htm ), and this absurdity from
Microsoft at http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/17.44.html#subj11 , all point
to the same issues.
The troubles with Microsoft are just a symptom of a deeper disease. Burning
Microsoft will be a symbolic act, not something that will get at the
-- Cem Kaner
Cem Kaner, J.D., Ph.D. Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 1200 Santa Clara, CA 95052 408-244-7000
Author (with Falk & Nguyen) of TESTING COMPUTER SOFTWARE (2nd Ed, VNR)
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