Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Gates of Hell?

Why isn't Bill Gates in prison? Seriously. How do you get away with knowingly selling an inferior product to the public (Vista), doing seemingly next to nothing to really fix the problems, discontinuing a product (XP) that a lot of people preferred to the new product, and then announcing that you'll be releasing a newer product (currently code-named Windows 7) within a year, but before you've even straightened out the problems with the current product? WHY ISN'T HE IN PRISON???

Why keep coming out with new operating systems? Why not just develope one that works, then keep improving and expanding it?

I bet I know why. Money. You don't get that rich just from selling the public something that works like it's supposed to, and then continually improving it. You've got to have an angle – something that guarantees not just profits, but obscene profits. Sell your soul to the Devil profits.

"Oh, but Bill Gates is a great philanthropist."

Says who? He's worth $50,000,000,000 (that's 50 BILLION DOLLARS). He could, literally, give away 90% of his fortune to charity and he'd still be worth 5 BILLION DOLLARS!!! Think about how insane that is.

Funny thing about billionaires: you really have to watch them, when they start talking about giving big chunks of their money away. Remember the big deal made out of Ted Turner giving a billion dollars to the U.N., back in the '90s? Everybody oohed and ahhed about how generous ol' Ted was (and he soaked up the accolades). But it turned out that it was a total of a billion dollars, to be paid out over 10 years (in other words, he didn't just write out a check for $1,000,000,000). And then, when the economy slowed down (around the turn of the millennium), he set out to renegotiate the terms to 15 years.

You'll occasionally hear someone recite the old platitude that "a man should spend the first half of his life acquiring as much wealth as he can, and the second half giving it all away" – as if the second half's charity will make up for the first half's greed. The problem, however, is that both are driven by self-centered motives: greed is obviously self-centered – but charity which is done to try to compensate for previous sins is also self-centered, because you're still doing it for your own benefit. (Such charity would still be better than greed – because you're, at least, giving rather than taking – but your motivation is still self-centered.)

Bill Gates has got more money than some countries. And, yet, he nickles and dimes his customers for every bit of help they need when trying to figure out what's wrong with a product that he knew was screwed-up when he released it in the first place. How is that even legal?? (Ooh, let me guess: Lawyers. With $60,000,000,000 he's probably got a legal 'dream team' that makes O.J.'s look like the Three Stooges.)


Eric said...

There is a solution to the Vista/Gates and Microsoft problem...

Buy a Mac. That's what I intend to do next computer I buy. My current was made from scratch.

Ricky said...

Yeah, Robby swears by Macs. But they tend to be cost prohibitive (for me), nearly impossible to modify/work on yourself (unlike PCs), and they're expensive to have others work on (and I have a long history of inexplicable problems with electronic devices).

Then, on a far less objective note, too many Mac users I've encountered have been snobs (at best), or unbearable assholes (at worst) - which just makes me not want to own one.

Still, it's definitely a viable alternative to Microsoft, if they don't get their act together. You just can't keep treating people like they do.

Fearsome Comrade said...

He's not in prison because there's no law against not making products that people want to buy. If that were the case, the entire US auto industry would be in prison, except for whomever designed the new Mustang.


Ricky H said...

Granted. But my main complaint is that he seems to release things with known major flaws (I understand nothing's perfect) and doesn't seem to be in any real hurry to fix them (e.g., IE still crashes with infuriating frequency on Vista running computers) -- then he discontinues a previous product (XP) that many people seemed to have fewer problems with (probably since most of the bugs had finally been worked out), and announces a new product on the horizon that (one fears) will have a whole host of new problems, and the whole frustrating cycle starts over again.

And it's not just the OS issues. It's the way Microsoft nickles and dimes their customers for everything. (It's just hard to believe that that kind of greed doesn't have at least a body or two buried somewhere.)

I'm all for free-market capitalism. But capitalism (like anything) only seems to work when there is at least some degree of integrity amongst the movers and shakers.

And don't even get me sarted on the US auto industry (their motto seems to be "Bend Over, We'll Drive"). If I was able to drive, I'd probably be even more disgusted than I am.

But somebody definitely rediscovered their Mustang mojo in recent years. It just goes to show that old dogs can learn new (or relearn old) tricks --it's just a shame no one seems to be taking notes.

My post was (I hope) obviously tongue-in-cheek in its hyperbole -- though with serious underlying concerns being vented (I'm still getting the hang of this blogging thing).

I was going to suggest there's a special place in Hell for people like him, but decide to forgo such eternal pronouncements until I've at least got the walking on water thing perfected. (Heck, I'd settle for just walking at this point.)

Thanks for commenting. I've enjoyed reading your stuff over the years (started at the BHT), and I'm humbled by the fact that you took the time to stop by and toss a rock through one of my windows.