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Microsoft's Insecurity Complex

April 26, 2005

If you had to choose one word to describe the current mind set at Microsoft, it would probably be "insecure." Insecure about the growing market share of Linux at the expense of the company's flagship Windows operating system. Insecure also describes the Microsoft platform itself, software essentially under siege from viruses, spyware and worse, a situation the upcoming Longhorn release is supposed to address.
Unfortunately, "insecure" also describes the company's response to intimidation from the radical religious right. Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced that the company was backing off its support for gay anti-discrimination legislation in Washington state. Ballmer et al buckled in the face of pressure from same-sex marriage foe and mega-church Pastor Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church, who threatened to lead a boycott of Microsoft products should the company continue to support the bill.
Making matters worse, AmericaBlog reports that Bill Gates retained legendary Christian Coalition hit man and American Taliban member Ralph Reed to lobby George Bush during the 2000 campaign. The motivation, of course, was to have the heavily conflicted Reed (who worked with the Bush campaign) pressure then candidate Bush to back off the DOJ's hard line against Microsoft. That $20,000 monthly retainer looks like money well spent.
There already were many reasons to dislike Microsoft, of course, unstable software and mercenary licensing practices being just two. But not for toeing the line for reactionaries like Reed and Hutcherson, at least, not til now.
Linux, with its cute penguin logo, is sounding like a better choice all the time. Then again, even some penguins are gay.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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