I've had about all I can take of the perennial Microsoft bashers who mindlessly trash the company regardless of what it does. I'm even more tired of the even more annoying whiners and moaners who complain about how they can't compete against the Microsoft "monopoly".
I try to avoid commenting on the issues that everybody else comments on, so I refuse to devote a column to Microsoft's battle with the US Department of Justice. I probably couldn't do it even if I wanted to, because I couldn't think of enough to say to fill the space.
In my view it's pretty cut and dried: the whiners should put a sock in it, and the Justice Department should leave Microsoft alone and get on with the business of administering justice in a country where far too many real injustices prevail.
Microsoft isn't subsidised by any government, and no one is preventing Netscape Communications, Sun Microsystems, Oracle or anybody else from developing a better operating system than Windows so that they can bundle their browser with it and put Microsoft out of business. So other than suggesting that we all axe the ridiculous "monopoly" gripe, I'm not sure what else there is to say on that score.
Of course, the fact remains that Microsoft is every bit as annoying as the bashers and the moaners, and at the end of the day would probably win a contest with either group to determine who could be the most annoying.
Pet Microsoft hates
We probably all have our pet Microsoft annoyances. Mine is pretty much summed up in the response that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates gives every time anybody asks him about his job or what makes Microsoft so special.
Invariably, Gates responds with a comment about how much he loves to be around "smart people" and how he loves to get "smart people" to work at Microsoft and how much fun it was in the early days to collaborate with other "smart people" who shared his vision.
Maybe I'm just being defensive about my IQ, but I'm simply not convinced that the people at Microsoft are as smart as they think they are. And it's when you think you're smarter than you really are that you start running into problems.
For one thing, if you think you're smarter than everybody else, it makes it extremely difficult to communicate with the rest of the world.
It would probably be fair to place most of the blame for that on Gates himself. Take Gates' question-and-answer session at a Beijing University recently.
In response to a student's question about the Web being so difficult to navigate, Gates pointed out that competition in the search engine space is going to lead to a lot of innovation that will make the Web "something that even normal people feel comfortable in navigating".
Now, I don't mean to nit-pick, but doesn't that phraseology seem odd? As far as I'm concerned, this guy is too hung up on the "smart people" versus "normal people" thing.
And my guess is that this hang-up tends to trickle down in Redmond, and that it was at least partially responsible for the "Microsoft Bob" fiasco - all of those "smart people" trying to develop a better user interface for us "normal people" succeeded only in creating an insultingly moronic piece of software that even we idiots refused to use.
How smart was that?