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Microsoft makes the trains run on time

"Be careful what you wish for," writes Ephraim Schwartz in Infoworld to begin his short thought piece on what the world would be like if Microsoft and its monopoly disappeared. It's a possibility that seems these days at least conceivable given the arrival of rich Web-based applications, and the rhetoric from people like Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff who regularly proclaims the end of Microsoft-style packaged software. (Certainly, the protesters from Free Software Foundation who showed up at Microsoft's developers conference this week in hazmat suits might not shed a tear.)

Schwartz asked a cross-section of tech gurus for their opinion on the subject, and while some were delighted by the prospect, others suggested we don't realize how good we have it. "Panic in the streets" is the most likely outcome, said Tony Meadow of software maker Bear River Associates.

The debate got picked up this morning on Digg, where most readers rejected the premise entirely. "The strawman this article sets up is utter crap," writes Digg user "cazabam," who scoffed at the notion that Microsoft's disappearance would catapault us into the technological Dark Ages.

"The only point that this article successfully proves is that MS has acquired lock-in not only at the software level, but also in mindset." For his part, however, Schwartz concludes (spoiler alert): "If Microsoft didn't exist, we'd have to invent it."
Posted by Oliver Ryan 8:57 AM 0 Comments comment | Add a Comment

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