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April 2002

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Walk softly and carry a big wallet

By Don Eitner © April 2002

Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt must surely be spinning in his grave over the Microsoft/Department of Justice (DoJ) collaboration formerly known as an anti-trust trial. Not only do the DoJ's recently subdued penalties for Microsoft's demonstrated illegal monopoly practices leave the door wide open for Microsoft to continue doing business as usual, but now the DoJ lawyers are in court fighting to keep the judge from imposing any more stringent penalties on the software giant. This after three years of consecutive wins in the courtroom where two levels of the US court system ruled that Microsoft had violated anti-trust law and illegally maintains its monopoly position in the market. Someone got paid off to drop the case. Of that I have no doubt.

Nine states attorneys general are still pursuing justice in the case at the will of the people of the United States of America. Microsoft's new plan appeared in February of 2002 in the form of often-cited hyperactive president Steve Ballmer testifying on the witness stand on the verge of tears that Microsoft may have to withdraw Windows from the market if further litigation by these nine states continues. This is such an obvious cry for attention and pity; a cheap ploy to get concerned citizens and business owners to protest the states' quest for justice against the illegal monopoly. All of Microsoft's previous attempts to sway opinion have failed miserably because they forgot that the attorneys general of each state actually know the names of cities in their own states and could figure out that people in cities that don't exist could not have mailed letters of support for Microsoft and that the dead don't write letters at all.

So Microsoft has been reduced to begging for sympathy. They will never pull their monopoly product from the market. What reason would anyone have to buy MS Office or to use MS Internet Explorer and Outlook Express if Windows no longer exists? The whole company would fold if they pulled Windows from the market, and the only people who would lose anything are Microsoft and any business manager who is so inept that they cannot protect their own business from such an event by ensuring that their company is not tied to one single supplier of software.

There's a rule of thumb in the business world which goes back hundreds if not thousands of years -- the business man who rejects all but a single supplier digs his own grave. What would these businesses do if a major natural disaster wiped Redmond, Washington off the map? They'd be in the same situation as if Microsoft withdrew all support for Windows. So when one really thinks about this, any responsible business owner or manager has already done everything in his or her power to ensure that their company's entire future is not tied directly to any single supplier so that a failure of any one such supplier will not drive their own business down. Anyone else is a fool and deserves to go out of business because they did not heed this time tested truth.

The Irish once relied almost entirely on potatoes for food. A famine wiped out their crop. Irish people died by the hundreds each week. If they had established a large fishing culture such as that found in Japan (both being islands, you see), they would have had more food and could have greatly reduced fatalities. Think about it.

Don Eitner is a long time conributor of articles to the VOICE Newsletter and the developer of The 13th Floor website -

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