Mother Jones on Microsoft.

I Find Karma (
Thu, 15 Jan 1998 18:59:44 -0800

So I'm *finally* getting around to that post on the Jan/Feb 1998 issue
of Mother Jones, "Where won't Microsoft go tomorrow?" They've done a
pretty good Web expose in case you're too cheap to buy the magazine:

In the article "The Microsoft Network", Ken Silverstein demonstrates
just how much lobbying power Microsoft has in BOTH Washingtons. This is
the kind of investigative reporting you'd never see in, say, Slate :)

Bottom line: Gates is one (paid) degree of separation from Newt
Gingrich, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, and several extremely influential
senators and congressmen. The only mistake one makes in viewing the
Microsoft lobbying power is in vastly underestimating it.

Isn't our government just the best damn government money can buy?

In the article "Overseas Invasion", Rachel Burstein talks about
Microsoft's bullying tactics overseas. I've learned to appreciate
Microsoft's forceful use of its power as the brand name of choice to 97%
of the market:

Unfortunately, the best article of the bunch, G. Pascal Zachary's "His
Way", is not available online. What I wouldn't give for a decent
manservant to type this thing in for me at a nickel an hour plus all you
can drink. Here, let me type in my favorite paragraph from the article:

> Go ahead and hate Bill Gates, if you want. But hate him for the right
> reason. Don't hate him for his clunky software. Don't hate him for
> his unimaginable wealth (largely on paper anyway). Don't hate him for
> what he is (a bore). Hate Gates because he can't help himself. He
> must squash his rivals, intimidate his allies, and treat his customers
> with a mixture of affection and resentment. Hate the system that
> produced him and that won't let him rest until the perverse logic of
> the information age plays out. Hate Bill Gates for what he will
> become -- not the quintessential robber baron, but a 21st-century
> Wizard of Oz. We need not grasp the technicalities of software to
> decode his future. We need only consult a formula as low-tech as a
> cake mix: Take some garden-variety insights into the future of
> electronic commerce, mix in some immutable truths about human nature,
> stir briskly, and -- presto! -- the arc of Gates' life comes into
> view.
> ...
> If the Web offers any lesson, it is that the boundary between tools
> and content is disappearing. In order to dominate one, you must
> dominate both.
> ...
> Technology is making it possible to mediate all of human experience
> through a computer, from shopping to education to sex. Books, movies,
> music, the temperature in your bedroom, the groceries you buy -- all
> this information will exist in a single digital format: the world as a
> string of ones and zeros decipherable by an electronic machine.
> ...
> The emergence of a digital megaindustry means Gates must diversify or
> die.
> ...
> Technology won't permit fence building, around Gates or any other
> digital baron. It isn't enough to keep Gates from, say, controlling
> the Web, because in the end the Web may only be a way station to an
> unknown destination.

I dig it, baby. Anyway, one more thing at the MoJones site: the
Microstuff page by Keith Hammond:

It links to U.S. vs. Microsoft sites, Ralph Nader's anti-Microsoft
conference, the stealing the overtime pay of temps case, the Microsoft
public university funding binge, the MSBC superlist of anti-Microsoft

And my personal favorite, the Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock:

Which currently reveals:

Thu Jan 15 21:56:36 EST 1998
Microsoft Stock Price: $132.312
Bill Gates's Wealth: $37.354300 billion
U.S. Population: 268,995,879
Your Personal Contribution: $138.866

Woo hoo! Wonder what I'm gonna do with my 139 bucks when we pillage his
(mostly paper) fortune...


If you want to know what God thinks about money, just look at the people
He gives it to.
-- Old Irish Saying