Now I've stepped in it. I've created the node, now I must fill it. Time for thought to coalesce into a (hopefully) coherent argument. (Note: Sorry for the length, but this is a very broad topic.)

Why Microsoft® is Evil


Below are listed the reasons I belive Microsoft to be evil. If you have an additional argument, please post your opinion below. If you want to post a counterargument, please post it in Why Microsoft is Not Evil. I don't want this to become a giant rant session; keep it logical and courteous, please.
Predatory Business Practices: Hardware Binding
Microsoft has largely gotten where they are in the IBM-compatible PC world by creating agreements with computer manufacturers to sell their operating system (OS) with the computer. (I will not go in to Apple's role in this). They are staying on the top through this same mechanism. Find a major PC manufacturer: Dell, HP, Gateway 2000, Toshiba, or others and see how many of them will sell you a new PC without some flavour of Windows on it. (Yes, Apple and a minority of others will.) The prevalence of manufacturers who only sell computers with Windows is staggering and, because of this, has come to be known as the "Microsoft Tax." This was the basis for the Windows Refund Day, which met with much resistance from the manufacturers. Indeed, new computers now ship with words to the effect of: "We sell Windows with this computer. If you don't want to use Windows, you can give us the computer back and we'll give you a refund. You cannot get a refund only on the OS." (My Toshiba laptop came with such an agreement.)
The Microsoft Office Suite, along with other Microsoft programs also comes bundled with a great number of new PCs. This is also a large part of the reason that Office is so prevalent now. How many PCs come bundled with Star Office or Corel Word Perfect Office? Check the price lists and compare the prices to MS Office.
Prevalence
The user base of Microsoft software is tremendous. More accurately, it is unparallelled. No software or hardware company on the face of the Earth has as many users as Micrsoft does. This is my (personal) first and foremost reason to begin to dislike and distrust Microsoft. It has unsurpassed power and influence. It could do just about anything it wants in the software world and, due to its monetary influence, in the physical world as well. Does it? So far, we've only discussed how it got its influence. How is it using its power?
Predatory Business Practices: Misuse of User Base
Microsoft uses its power to reinforce its position and gain money. Yes, those are the goals of a business, but are these the goals that a superpower should have? Above, we have seen that Microsoft has unparallelled control within the world. Thus, it is a superpower. Indeed, the case can be made that it is a monopoly in the PC market. How are they using this monstrous advantage? Quelling consumer choice and gaining more money and power. Bundling Internet Exploitable (IE) with Windows was a step. Most casual IE users I know use it because it's a) already there and b) starts the fastest of any browser out there for Windows. Why is it already there? Because it's bundled with Windows. Why does it start so fast? Because it's an "inseperable" part of the operating system (suuure) and the core components and libraries are loaded when you start the [computer. Additionally , (and this really torques me off) IE is required in order to obtain updates to the OS. Security updates as well as fun things such as screen savers and themes. You now really have to at least have IE installed. Another step: Corel brought forth documents showing that Microsoft deliberately threw in incompatabilities in Windows 3.1 in order to keep their product, DR-DOS, from running Windows, thus eliminating it as a threat to their monopoly. (http://www.drdos.com/fullstory/final4.html) Let us not forget .Net/C-sharp, the not-Java. C-sharp is effectively Java, with some Microsoft-specific "enhancements" thrown in and the platform independence taken out. .Net puts the platform independence back in to a degree, and adds some more features to the Microsoft offering. Glorified, bloated RPCs, anyone?
Predatory Business Practices: Support
Since when can a company get away with providing essentially no tech support with their product? I remember back to the first Gateway 2000 box my family got. We got huge manuals detailing most everything that could be done on the computer (The Windows and MS-DOS books were each in excess of 400-600 pages. Now, you get about 20-50 pages of basically installation instructions.) The online help is of no help, either. That is all of the "This is Your Mouse" variety. (Not quite true for all cases, but close). In order to learn what all you can do with your win.ini file or registry for instance, you have to purchase a miriad of books. Even then, not all details are covered. If something isn't in your online help or brochure-manual, then you must pay to get the privilege of calling tech support more than three times. (for my copy of NT, anyhow). If you have an OEM copy, then watch out! You must contact your vendor. (a vast majority of users.)
Microsoft: It's not Just Software
Contrary to what some people believe, Microsoft does not just produce software. Ever heard of MSN? Hotmail? Microsoft is an ISP and an email provider. How about the Intellimouse or the Natural Keyboard? They produce hardware, too. How about MSNBC? They are into television and cable. Heard about the X-Box? They do console game systems. The list of disparate fields Microsoft is in goes on and on. Microsoft is not just a monopoly, it's a conglomerate as well. (Has anyone checked in on this from a legal standpoint?) Not only that, but even the software produced should be examined more closely. Microsoft produces the drivers many users use, the Operating System (core components e.g. the kernel), the Graphics system (X in unix), the window manager, the browser, on up to applications such as IIS and Office. There is nothing preventing Microsoft from putting in code to give themselves an advantage and competitors a disadvantage at any link along the chain from hardware to applications. This is possibly the scariest to those like me who tend to be lightly paranoid. Unseen APIs or calls to give Microsoft apps a leg up, enhance the performance of their hardware, or surreptitiously monitor the user without the user ever knowing.
if(browser.ident != "Internet Explorer"){
  error("This application has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.");
}
They Charged For a Beta of Windows 2000
Charging for a beta? Now that's evil. (*grin*)
This is just a sampling of the ideas floating about in my head. Basically, Microsoft is doing what almost every other business in its position would do. If, say, Sun were in such a position, this node would be Why Sun is Evil. (If you believe this to be true, you are more than welcome to create such a node. I might even have something to add. (*grin*)) We consumers ultimately decide what businesses can and cannot do: by using our minds and dollars (denarii, lire, pesos, francs, marks, etc.). If you find a business's practices to be disturbing, tell them. That should be your first action. If that does not work, then vocally put your money somewhere else. It's the corporations' world--but only if we let them have it.


A few sites for you to peruse: More as I find them.

An Obscure Feature of Microsoft

Dismay Among the Martian Race

For the first time in many years I smoked a cigarette the other day. Without exaggeration its only flavour was of mild burning paper.

We have got so used to this sort of thing that we do not realise how deeply odd it is. Why for example is supermarket bread tasteless or unpleasant? Why do country music radio stations grade the songs from 0, for rubbish, to 5, for very good, and then play the 3's - they all do this as a matter of conscious policy in the US? Would not the famous Martian, freshly arrived among us, react with confusion?

The Dismal Regiment of Windows

Windows is COMMERCIAL in big letters. Meaning it treats us, like all thing supposedly commercial, as infantilized farm animals. But what do infants like - why gaudy bangles, 'eye candy'.

But Windows is perhaps the dreariest looking thing ever to get on a cathode ray screen. Where the hell is the eye candy?

My thing has silver window borders, inlaid with amber. I look out across an animated lake by moonlight through a picture widow upon which the rain plays. Each window is translucent, so that lower windows all show through, they have drop shadows and wobble, as though rubber, when dragged. Get the idea? In short, I've got more eye candy than an undertaker's shagged dead bodies.

And yet Windows has none.

What Can It Possibly Mean?

It is a rule of controlling the farm animals that Microsoft, for example, cannot just do what suits it; it has to square what it does with the other elements of power, with "the state" if you like.

Making people bored and less happy than they would otherwise be is a fundamental of social control. Spending your life sitting in front of Microsoft's ugly, dull screen, with its horrid "start button" (to which Bill attributes much of his success) fills the farm animal with quite desperation and despair. And this is what Bill gives to the rest of power, this is the social control red meat he throws them in payment.

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