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Re: Nation piece
In reply to Pieter Nagel's message sent 11/24/97 8:51 AM:
>In this context they believe Microsoft is doing a good job. Since
>computers are cryptic and crash-prone anyway, it is amazing that MS
>are able to slap such a friendly face on top of them. Since the
>computer will radically be different every year or so, it is lucky
>that Microsoft is able to stay abreast of the wave and bring out
>upgrades just in time - and add new functionality, too boot!
Of course you are entirely correct -- belief can be at variance from
reality, and this certainly is the case here. The current state of the
computer industry today is reminiscent of the auto industry shortly after
the turn of the century. Cars were improving at a fairly rapid pace
during this time, but they still required far too much care and attention
for the average person to cope with on a daily basis. They needed to be
cranked to life by someone with strong arms and agility, tires wore out
every few hundred miles, and they were unreliable and tricky to drive.
This state of affairs was marginally tolerable because even a miserable
car enabled travel that could not be accomplished by any other means.
Still, basic problems with the technology dictated that cars would be
used mainly by hobbyists, specialists, or people who could afford to hire
specialists. These basic problems were ultimately solved because
innovation was bred by competition within the industry. As a consequence,
the market penetration of the auto reached its full potential.
This is roughly the situation in the computer industry today, with the
obvious exception that the computer industry is essentially
non-competitive. Still, even a monopoly manufacturer desires deeper
market penetration (only about 30% of homes in the U.S. have computers in
them today, I believe), but lacking competition, they have little
incentive to achieve this goal by actually making a better product.
Instead, they can resort to cheap window-dressing (pun intended) --
producing the illusion that the product is made for ordinary,
non-technical people, when in fact it was designed by and for technicans.
My earlier point was that I believe that the public's tolerance for this
charade is limited (though just how limited, only time will tell). Of
course, I can't prove this, but all of my intuition says it is true.
People will only put up with so much.
Timeo daneos et dona ferentes. (I fear the
Greeks even when bearing gifts.)
Boycott Microsoft ** http://www.vcnet.com/bms