Boycott Microsoft?

2000: In my previous article I discussed why I think Microsoft products for the Macintosh should be viewed and reviewed in an unbiased manner. Since that article, Mr. Bob Allis has commented (The Mac-Files: On Boycotts) about my article and offered his opinion regarding why a Microsoft boycott would be sanctioned and supported.

Mac Metamorphosis

Mr. Allis states,

“A boycott is when a person would normally use a product but does not because of an underlying problem they have with that specific company. People boycotted Exxon because of their perceived lackluster safeguards of the environment. People boycotted Nestlé (I think) because of their involvement with South Africa at the height of apartheid.”

Now in the case of Nestlé, I would have to support a boycott based on its involvement with South Africa. However, I don’t feel that argument is prudent to Microsoft. Apartheid was something that was out of the common US citizens’ hands, and a boycott was warranted because of that. The same course of action holds true for our trade embargo with Iraq. We cannot change their laws, but we can make them reexamine what they are doing by using such measures.

Microsoft, on the other hand, was found guilty in a United States court of law and will be dealt their punishment by our own Department of Justice. I am a big believer in redemption – not only on a personal level but on a corporate level as well. Microsoft will receive its punishment and have to pay its dues to society. At this point, I do not feel it would be proper to persecute Microsoft for their actions by boycotting or other means. Is it right to make someone continue to suffer for something that they already paid for, or is about to pay for, as directed by the courts? No, it’s not – according to our current laws.

Doctor Evil from Austin PowersLet’s look at it on a more simplistic level, mainly arrogance. There are people shunting Microsoft products on the belief that Microsoft is “evil”. Most people I encounter could not even begin to describe what makes Microsoft’s business practices wrong. Like most flavor of the month situations, a lot of people tend to act on hearsay. Let me give you an example.

For a long time, I believed that Macs, and Apple as a whole, sucked. Ask me why, and I would reply “Mac-in-trash’s just suck.” I would start talking to someone and ask him or her what kind of computer they had. If they said they used a Macintosh, I would say, “Sorry to hear that.”

Why did I have such a hatred for the Macintosh? Because as a PC user, that seemed to be the thing to do. During Apple’s troublesome times in the mid-90s, we in the PC community had a deathwatch going on for Apple. “Die, Apple, Die,” we screamed.

To this day I really couldn’t give you a good answer as to why.

Apple really never hurt anyone except themselves, unlike Microsoft. Maybe I am wrong, but in my opinion, it’s the same mentality. Now there are people who feel very strongly that Microsoft sucks, and I am sure they can come up with very valid arguments as to why. Again, there are those who are misinformed and are just following the pack.

grape iMacAs I stated in my previous article, Macintosh users boycotting Microsoft products could hurt Apple. The only products in the computer industry that the average consumer really knows come from Microsoft. An example of this is when a close friend of mine was looking to purchase his first computer. He was looking at the usual assortment of PCs when I recommended that he get an iMac. “Yeah, I heard of that. But it has to run Word because I use it at work.” I then proceeded to tell him that a Macintosh will run Word, and I showed it to him on my Umax SuperMac S900. Long story short, he bought a grape-colored iMac.

Had Microsoft not developed a version of Word for the Mac, Apple would have lost a sale for the sole reason that the customer couldn’t run the most popular word processor. Microsoft doesn’t need Apple, and they don’t have to write programs for the Macintosh. Apple doesn’t need Microsoft, either, but let’s face it, Microsoft products in some way help push Apple sales. I am not referring to longtime computer users, but to the potential computer user who has never owned a computer but uses one at work.

Getting back to my point, Mr. Allis’ bio states that he has been using a Macintosh since 1985. Getting my first computer sometime around that year (1982 to the exact) I often long for how the computer industry operated in that era. Back then things were different. Computer products weren’t simply dismissed on the basis of politics. A clear-cut example of this is how a lot of users back then switched from DOS computers to Macs. It wasn’t because of the DOJ; it was because it was better.

That, Mr. Allis, was the point of my article. Let software and hardware stand on their own merits. If I did not look at things in such an unbiased perspective these days, I wouldn’t be the proud owner of a Power Mac G4, because I would still believe “Mac-in-Trash sucks.”

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