Demonizing Gates    4/8/00


I'm sick of hearing about the evil Bill Gates needing to be restrained. I'm tired of hearing how he is just "too rich", and needs to be brought down a notch. I'm tired of hearing how he's immature, insecure and mean spirited, so needs to be taught a lesson. I'm tired of hearing how Microsoft abused its position of market leadership by dealing with competitors harshly.

Except for the last point, these issues were not even a part of the DOJ's charges against Microsoft. Yet every person I've ever discussed this suit with, that thought the DOJ was right in its prosecution of Microsoft, eventually falls back on these ad hominem arguments as I debunked each of their "technical" arguments in defense of the suit. "Microsoft (Bill Gates) is just too big, too rich, too powerful!" That seems to be the inevitable distillation of the trust-busters argument in this case. Of course retribution for the all too numerous Windows lock-ups we all experience takes a strong second position. Now that's a rational, intelligent, appropriate interpretation of the law!

The last point, interestingly, is at least as impertinent as the first two. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act's purpose never was to defend competitors, but to defend consumers! But at least it's not an empty personal attack - it sounds "legal".

Have you ever thought about the consequences of applying the same standards for government intervention to yourself and those around you? Although I'm not yet rich enough to raise the spiteful jealousy of "the people"(the government), I have been quite capable of being rather cranky and even rude! I am, at times, quite insecure and often immature. Do we really want to get into the psyche of a company and of its leader(s) as a means to justify legal anti-trust action against it? How does that even begin to be pertinent? Are we now going to begin to prosecute the qualities of discourtesy, rudeness, meanness, toughness, or greed themselves, absent otherwise illegal acts? Would that standard be only for the "abusive rich", or for ALL of us?

How many of us have actually read, never mind studied, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act? I'm not talking about reading about what it means, not being told what it means, but actually reading the Act for yourself.

I've read several articles that fault Bill Gates for not settling the case with the DOJ. I'm not going to get into every legal detail of the case. That's for another article. But I am relieved by Microsoft's unwillingness to submit to the intimidation by the Government and its lackeys in the "private sector". Someone has to stand up to the stampeding Government that is in fact THE MONOPOLY. The only monopoly that can put you in jail or even take your life for resisting its business practices! Come to think of it - it can be pretty cranky and even unfair at times, too. Ever deal with an IRS agent? It could be said that our Governments leader has displayed behavior very likely rooted in the human weaknesses of insecurity and immaturity, too. HMMM.

Who's going to bust that trust?
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