Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Ecological niche attracts figurehead

We see these "what a jerk Bill Gates is" articles all the time. They really don't help us understand the problem.

It's not "Bill Gates," it's Microsoft Corporation. The standards-seeking nature of the computer business combined with our worldwide lack of meaningful antitrust laws creates a perfect ecological niche for a software monopoly. First it was IBM and them MSFT. The monopoliast needs a sympathetic public relations figurehead. If it hadn't found Gates there were plenty more who wanted the job. Gates was, as they say, born on third base and thinks he hit a home run. Despite the fact he was one of the founders and his mommy had the connections at IBM, I think it's just as accurate to say Microsoft created the person that is now "Bill Gates" as Gates created Microsoft.

How much do you really know about Walt Disney? Did you know he hated Jews and children? Disney Corporation needed that cuddly grandpa entrepreneur character for its figurehead, and the public persona of Walt Disney was about as real as Mickey Mouse. Do you actually believe Thomas Edison invented the light bulb? Of course not, Edison invented the engineering sweat shop and the contract where engineers work for wages and sign away their patent rights. Nobody will ever know who was on the team that developed Edison Electric's tungsten filament light bulb manufacturing machine, but you can be sure it wasn't Edison himself. So what makes you think you know any more about "Bill Gates" than you know about Edison or Disney?

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