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Why I Don't Like Microsoft

Warning. The following contains opinions of a controversial nature. I haven't backed these up with a lot of facts (although I could). In future I might have time to put more hard facts, statistics, etc here but now you'll just have to research it yourself on the Internet.

As much as possible I avoid using Microsoft products - unfortunately I can't avoid them completely because I have to support clients who use them. There are two main reasons I don't use them...

First, politics. I really don't like the way Microsoft act. They constantly abuse their monopolistic power (and they are definitely a monopoly by any reasonable definition) to the detriment of the computer community as a whole. They stifle innovation and competition (contrary to their propaganda). They create incompatible products to prevent others from succeeding. They make big donations to both political parties and avoid prosecution for activities which are (at best) of questionable legality. There's a list of Microsoft's dirty tricks here.

Second, technical reasons. Microsoft products aren't great. They certainly don't deserve to be in the dominant position they are. OK, they "do everything", but they don't do it very well. Microsoft Word is a classic example of a program which tries to do everything: graphics, tables, etc, but, it doesn't do decent word processing any more! In fact, its hard to think of anything it does well.

Microsoft products are also full of holes. They are often unreliable and have many security flaws. Practically every virus, worm, etc is propagated through Microsoft products. Some people say this is because they are so widely used it makes them an obvious target for viruses, but this is only part of the reason. For example, most Web sites are served by Apache, but most security flaws affect Microsoft IIS.

I am a Mac user and think Mac OS X is superior to any Microsoft OS. I also think Apple has done more for the computer community than Microsoft ever will. I also support open source and Linux as an alternative to Microsoft programs. There's a list alternatives to Microsoft programs here.

I spend a lot of time helping people with Microsoft programs and I often ask them why they use them. Only a tiny fraction ever say its because they like them (and even then they often have never tried anything else). The most common reasons for using Microsoft programs are: it was on the computer when I got it, I didn't know there was anything else, "everyone" uses it, I have been told to use it, etc. Its hard to fight that sort of ignorance. Most computer support staff make a lot of money fixing and supporting Microsoft programs so they aren't going to push for change. Also, most managers are too ignorant to make useful decisions so they just take the safe option and stick with the status quo.

Fighting the Microsoft monopoly might sound hopeless but it isn't. The more people who promote reasonable alternatives and point out the deficiencies in Microsoft products, the more likely a gradual change might occur.

Discussion

Comment by alexi on 2006-11-26 at 15:52:37: Macs suck and Microsoft is better a 100 percent and Macs can't play as much games what do I mean Macs can't play any games that why all PC rocks ps Mac are p.o.c. Macs can't do anything.

Comment by OJB on 2006-11-27 at 21:02:15: If all you want to do is play games then a PC is probably a better idea. If you want to do creative and interesting things on your computer I would suggest a Mac is a better choice. Contrary to popular belief there are a lot of games for Macs, but I agree that there are far more for PCs. With the introduction of the new Intel-based Macs everything has changed, because Mac users can now run PC games using a PC compatibility system, such as Boot Camp and Parallels. That way you can get the best...

Comment by sword_of_damocles on 2007-04-09 at 05:00:49: Your comments are well taken overall, but in your third paragraph you stated that Microsoft "constantly abuses their monopolistic power" - c'mon. A monopoly IS abusive in and of itself and anything any monopoly does is simply acting out it's nature. You wouldn't say a snake is evil because it bites, suffocates then devours its meal would you? Of course not, it's simply acting out it's nature, it can't help it. The same goes for any monopoly. There's no such thing as a non-abusive "nice" monop...

Comment by OJB on 2007-04-09 at 11:49:27: What I was saying is that being a monopoly doesn't require the company involved to excessively abuse that position. A monopoly doesn't have to be corrupt. A monopoly is just a dominant company: "monopoly (n): a company or group having exclusive control over a commodity or service". I think you've got a point though, because maybe its inevitable, given the way the capitalist system works, that anyone given monopoly power will abuse it. I agree that Microsoft Windows has improved, but its still...

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