Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Word processing on the Imperial Death Star

If Microsoft is the Evil Empire, then Windows is the Imperial Death Star. PC users must therefore use the Imperial Death Star as the platform for all their computing.

I have an IBM Thinkpad, which I really like toting around to coffeehouses, etc., but for two things. Sometimes it doesn't shut down, but just freezes in a kind of logoff limbo. And about once every two to three times I try to launch Word Perfect (version 12), my word processor of choice, either the system locks up or Word Perfect fails to boot up.

Trusting appearances, my first reaction is always to get angry and blame the laptop, and then blame Word Perfect 12. But then I remember, I'm launching Word Perfect 12 from the Imperial Death Star.

How easy would it be for Microsoft to embed some code in Windows XP that would undermine the performance of Word Perfect 12 and other software products that compete with Microsoft? Pretty darn easy, I would think. But could they get away with it? Well, let's gather the facts. Microsoft settled the big antitrust suit over three years ago, yet their software is so heavily bundled with any PC purchased in the US that it's hard to believe we have antitrust laws. My guess: yes, they could get away with it.

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