Back in the Windows 95 days, I was a huge Microsoft proponent. When Netscape sicked the U.S. DoJ on them, I was on their side. What happened since then?
I’m a Linux user. That is to say, all of my home computers run Linux. The one at work doesn’t, but that’s a long story, which only serves to convince me that I want no Windows box at home. To say that I “hate” Microsoft may be a little hyperbole. But sometimes it does describe the way I feel. But not because Bill Gates is rich, as Bill Hilf is quoted as implying. On the contrary, the story of Bill Gates and MS-DOS and IBM is one of the most inspiring tales I’ve ever encountered. I dream of being a Bill Gates.
The reasons I hate Microsoft are more basic. Here are the top three that come to mind:
Windows is one of my last bastions of angry insanity. As a developer, Windows gets in my way more often than it does what I want. When it really pisses me off, I stop my work, walk over to my white board, and write “Windows sucks!” in big red letters. Were it not for Cygwin, I’d be carrying on conversations with my stuffed penguin.
I would think twice about going into business with Microsoft. I’ve felt this way ever since I read Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure by Jerry Kaplan, the story of GO Corporation. Now, GO had more problems than just Microsoft, I’m sure. That doesn’t ease my fear. My fear is that Microsoft would renege on their agreement with me and then sick their team of lawyers on me to make up for the fact. The legal system is a funny thing. If you have enough money, you can buy your own justice.
Windows XP activation, and now the Orwellian “Windows Genuine Advantage” service. Like the Internal Revenue Service: No thanks! Please! You’ve served me enough already!
Basically, Microsoft no longer oozes professionalism and trust. They don’t trust me, and I don’t trust them. And once lost, trust is almost impossible to regain.