Friday, September 02, 2005

William Gates: Destroyer of wealth

In OS X when you drag a bunch of documents to the printer icon, they print. In XP when you do that you get a dialog asking if you really want to print multiple documents. Then Word starts printing. And then it hangs. Eventually something happens, then it aborts.

I run into various bugs like this with XP all the time. Once you move away from the routine stuff people do every day, you find that Microsoft products often don't work. Word is the worst, Excel is the best, and XP is in between.

It wasn't invention or excellence that made Microsoft so dominant. It was ruthless economic warfare by a brilliant strategist and tactician who understood how to leverage every possible aspect of file format and API lock-in, and had no interest in the niceties of ethical business practice. I respect that brilliance and focus, but the combination of Microsoft's utter dominance, and their mediocre products, has cost us hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity. Bill Gates has destroyed more wealth than any other capitalist in history.

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