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Gates the Philanthropist
September 27, 2003 12:40 PM   Subscribe

Bill Gates, the philanthropist. It's not mentioned enough that the world's richest man, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has donated more than $3.2 billion to combat disease and improve education for the poorest people of the world. Bill and his wife Melinda have pledged to give most of their money away before they die -perhaps following Carnegie's philosophy "The Gospel of Wealth" in which he states that the rich have a moral obligation to give away their fortunes.- Just last week they donated $168 million to combat Malaria in Africa, this came "atop $120 million" they already gave towards fighting the disease. Not only is "Malaria, the Terrorist's Friend," but worse every year it sickens 300 million and kills 1.1 million. -does donating Linux to the world make Linus Torvalds a Philanthropist?
posted by giantkicks (50 comments total)

 
Ayn Rand is turning over in her grave.
posted by Espoo2 at 12:44 PM on September 27, 2003


Good. Hook up a generator to her, so she'll finally do some work that's useful.

As much as I hate the fact that, after thirty years, the best my industry could do on the desktop is Unix and Windows (how did we screw this up this badly?) and I much as I hate Windows more than Unix, I cannot in any way fault what Bill Gates has done with his wealth. Yes, he built a show house. As if I wouldn't have. But he's given away staggering amounts of capital in order to do good.
posted by eriko at 1:09 PM on September 27, 2003




I love to see people giving their ill gotten plunder back to the people it was so wrongly taken from.

Only another few billion to go, and I'll be able to stop calling him the scum of a New York Taxi Cab!

But just think of all the diseases that could have been cured in the time Bill Gates spent illictly acquiring this swag! It's staggering to think of the detriment this mountebank has caused through his chicanery.
posted by shepd at 1:15 PM on September 27, 2003


The robber barons of 100 years ago behaved the same way -- amass huge fortunes through predatory (and often illegal) business practices, then give at least some of the loot to worthy causes.
posted by Zonker at 1:18 PM on September 27, 2003


So he donates $6 billion according to the rant of an article Blue Stone points to, and he slagged because it's not enough. It's only 2% of his net worth? -he's got what 20 to 30 odd years to live before achieving his goal of giving it all away before he dies; 2% is about right for now.
posted by giantkicks at 1:39 PM on September 27, 2003


giantkicks, you miss the point. Bill Gates is evil. I don't have anything to really back that up, but I heard it from someone on the internet.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2003


I'll tell you why Microsoft is evil, and I'm experiencing it at this very moment. They steal time from every single developer who has to use their products to deliver a product -- and that's everyone who's delivering a web application, at least. How do they steal it? Do you *really* think that Microsoft is so resource-poor that they just can't afford to get it together and put out a damn browser that works with CSS standards? Right now, however, I'm losing hours of my time because of some bug that makes images that display all right and proper in every browser -- except IE. Anyone here who's ever tried CSS positioning and the accompanying loosely semantic markup knows what I'm talking about. The player in the browser world that has the most resources by an absolutely awesome margin produces one of the worst offenders in terms of standards compliance. Because it's an advantage to their pocketbook, not to their customers, and certainly not to the developers who have to find workarounds for their software abortions.

It's not just IE, either. I have to use MS Word XP at work to occasionally do *page layout*. Nevermind that it's the wrong tool for the job, we know that, it's just that sometimes our customers demand stuff in that format. The gyrations necessary to do things in those programs are ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I've used two other word processors who make it an order of magnitude easier -- hell, sometimes I'd rather do page layout in the same bug-ridden CSS/XHTML combo I mentioned above. Again, who is the player with the most resources? Who does not have the easiest or most powerful toolset?

Seriously, someday I think people will wake up and realize that Bill has been wasting several GDPs worth of people's time, and that's how he's amased his wealth -- Microsoft would much rather let customers and developers waste their time than spend their own dimes creating truly effective software.

And by the way, if anyone knows anything about the sort of image visibility bug I just mentioned and wants to contact me, please feel free. Lollipops and a free CD if you solve my problem.
posted by weston at 2:03 PM on September 27, 2003


I don't see Gates being slagged for not giving enough of his money away. I do see people pointing out the way he made that money in the first place. And if you don't have anthing to back that up, give a read to the Findings of Fact from the Antitrust case.
posted by Zonker at 2:04 PM on September 27, 2003


...and TRIPS is still being negotiated, but it's well on it's way to including concessions to allow poorer countries access to much needed drugs. As of August 30, governments will be able to "issue compulsory licenses to allow other companies to make a patented product or use a patented process under license without the consent of the patent owner.." -because you invest in a company, doesn't mean you sit in on WTO negotiations. eyeballkid, Bill Gates is evil, I don't miss the point, I just think it's a point worth questioning. As a guy who has had a serious chip on my shoulder over the lack of efforts the bulk of the wealthy make to improve quality of life in the world, hearing what Gates does helps my chip scar over.
posted by giantkicks at 2:17 PM on September 27, 2003


"issue compulsory licenses to allow other companies to make a patented product or use a patented process under license without the consent of the patent owner.." -because you invest in a company, doesn't mean you sit in on WTO negotiations. eyeballkid, Bill Gates is evil, I don't miss the point, I just think it's a point worth questioning. As a guy who has had a serious chip on my shoulder over the lack of efforts the bulk of the wealthy make to improve quality of life in the world, hearing what Gates does helps my chip scar over.
posted by giantkicks at 2:19 PM on September 27, 2003


RE: Ill gotten gains.

The guy sells computer software. He doesn't clearcut rainforests. He doesn't use slave labor to assemble toys. He twiddles bits. Get some perspective.

And geez, it isn't like the pharma thing is a slam dunk anyway. How do you both ensure investment in R&D and give away the farm to people too poor to buy the drugs? A genuine dilemma but offtopic.
posted by ednopantz at 2:38 PM on September 27, 2003


If you're uber-wealthy you have two choices on what happens to your money after you die -

1. The government gets most of it.

2. You can spend it or give it away before the government gets it.

You can only put away so much in a trust fund.

Does this change how we should perceive Gates? I'm not sure, but he certainly is not some saintly exception. This is common practice for the wealthy and it becomes a social activity in itself.

>It's not mentioned enough that the world's richest man

To be fair we just had a thread on Gates giving money away 11 days ago here at metafilter.

None of the above changes the fact that MS was ruled to be a harmful monopoly and MS engages in dirty tricks. I think Bgates is just another very wealthy man - his business is his life and he engages in charity. It would be really odd if he didn't do any charity work. There are no Monty Burns in the real world. The robber barons of old did the same thing.
posted by skallas at 2:40 PM on September 27, 2003


As a guy who has had a serious chip on my shoulder over the lack of efforts the bulk of the wealthy make to improve quality of life in the world, hearing what Gates does helps my chip scar over.

I'd say you were mixing your metaphors, but I'm honestly not sure ...
posted by krinklyfig at 2:41 PM on September 27, 2003


ednopantz:The guy sells computer software. He doesn't clearcut rainforests. He doesn't use slave labor to assemble toys. He twiddles bits. Get some perspective

First off, he sold computer software illegally. Breaking DRDOS, monopolistic deals with OEMs, bundling, breaking protocols, etc all lead to loss of diversity in the IT market which translates almost directly to a loss of jobs. Fuck the rainforest, I'm sure thousands more people would rather be working away at writing code and competiting with MS evenly. But because of MS's predatory actions these small and midsize companies never came to be or if they did they were crushed illegally. To the unemployed tech worker the perspective is all too clear: MS took my job.

No, he doesn't use slave labor, but he uses prison labor which costs pennies per hour per inmate. MS is known to cut deals with the prison industry to package their products for them. This cuts much needed low-paying and temp jobs. To the perspective of the untrained unemployed guy looking for a job this is unfair. Objectively, its unfair and is a gross unethical abuse of government/industry collusion.

Funny how the conservative voices here don't understand that monopolies mean less diversity and less money and less jobs overall. Playing the cronism game with government to get inmates to do your work for slave wages is the "big bad government" they rail against. Getting off with a light slap on the wrist on an anti-trust trial isn't a win for business, its a loss for the whole economy. A monopoly is as close as you can get to socialism as possible AND MS gets free prison labor and bgates isn't a bad guy? Oh please.
posted by skallas at 2:56 PM on September 27, 2003


I'm going to try and ask bill gates for college money.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:00 PM on September 27, 2003


isn't giving this much money away partly a tax shelter? isn't that the same reason all of these celebs have their own charities so they can siphon off the top layer, put it in a charity and pay friends and family to work for the charity and then use it as a tax deductible at the end of the year?

i'm not saying rich people don't give away money b/c they have a lot of it but it's also done for personal and financial selfish reasons.
posted by suprfli at 3:10 PM on September 27, 2003


i'm not saying rich people don't give away money b/c they have a lot of it but it's also done for personal and financial selfish reasons.

And your point is...... look, if we took all the money rich people had given away simply because they cared, and put it all in a big pile...

we'd have 27 cents. I say let the rich give as much away as they want.
posted by bradth27 at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2003


Funny how the conservative voices here don't understand that monopolies mean less diversity and less money and less jobs overall

Funny how the liberal voices here don't understand that monopolies can only occur when the government is directly involved in an industry, and that a corporation can not directly "create" or become a monopoly.
posted by davidmsc at 4:18 PM on September 27, 2003


I love to see people giving their ill gotten plunder back to the people it was so wrongly taken from.

I'll tell you why Microsoft is evil, and I'm experiencing it at this very moment. They steal time from every single developer who has to use their products to deliver a product...

First off, he sold computer software illegally.

The narcissicm, self-absorption and cocooning of programmers never fails to astound me. Bill Gates, the eeeeeeeevilest man in the world, and his nefarious company M$ are wicked, wicked, wicked!!!

Except....that they're not clearcutting rainforests, and they're not enslaving entire populations, and they're not spewing contaminants into the atmosphere. Bill Gates hustled some code. It's all code. And that's what continually fails to make a dent into anyone's head: it's just fucking computer code. Gain some goddamn perspective.

And right now, Bill Gates is doing more for the long-term health and survival of the planet than you are. Than most people. With his "ill-gotten" wealth. If the economic ruin of several software companies in the '80s and '90s was necessary to eradicate malaria, then so be it. I'll live with that cost/benefit ratio. Better than then him turning into Larry Ellison, who can think of nothing better to do with his wealth than race a boat every few years.

Oh, and if someone can tell me when Microsoft pillaged sub-Sarahan Africa (thus enabling Gates to "return his ill-gotten plunder" there), that'd be great, thanks.
posted by solistrato at 4:22 PM on September 27, 2003


I don't see Gates being slagged for not giving enough of his money away.

Actually, there's someone doing just that. An NYU philosophy professor, Peter Unger, is an ethicist who has come to the conclusion that not giving away as much money as possible to charities, particularly ones like Oxfam and UNICEF, is equivalent of killing the people that die because they don't get your donation. It sounds out there, but it's very well laid out in his book, Living High and Letting Die, and once explained, it makes a lot of sense.

On an aside, I saw the da Vinci exhibit at the Met last year, and it was interesting to see "On loan from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" on a quarter, maybe a third, of the pieces. Guess he didn't mind letting those few thousand starving children die.
posted by The Michael The at 4:28 PM on September 27, 2003


There's not just a little bit of irony in Bill Gates, wealthy by virtue of copyrights which essentially never expire, assaulting the intellectual property of medical researchers whose patents expire only 10 yrs or so after approval.

In doing so he looks magnanimous whilst removing incentive to effect future cures. The result is a world with fewer cures not more.
posted by paleocon at 5:23 PM on September 27, 2003


davidmsc: Funny how the liberal voices here don't understand that monopolies can only occur when the government is directly involved in an industry, and that a corporation can not directly "create" or become a monopoly.


Huh? You're kidding right? Every open market eventually filters out to big players and then the big players ask each other "Why are we competing against each other, lets just fix our prices and carve out territories mafia style." Thus the trust is born. Economic history is constantly repeating itself - monopolies, trusts, cronyism, and the bottom feeders who defend it all because of ideology.


>If the economic ruin of several software companies in the '80s and '90s was necessary to eradicate malaria, then so be it.

And how do you know that if things turned out differently there wouldn't be the same amount if not more charity funding? You don't. Don't play the what-if game because ultimately its silly solipsism. This is not the best of all worlds, Dr Pangloss.
posted by skallas at 6:52 PM on September 27, 2003


Ayn Rand is turning over in her grave.

I'm far from what I'd call a Rand supporter. But to be accurate she had nothing against charity where all donations are given because the donor wants to. I'll definitely give that the way she talks about charity most of the time is almost hysterically negative, she would never deny someone's right to do it. That would go for Bill and Linus' ways of giving, since the bottom line in Rand's philosophy, by my reading, is that it's their choice to give something away - not their obligation.

That said, great post giantkicks. I've always been cynically amused by the way that the Gates' charitable donations don't get as much coverage as his wealth. Then again, his publicized breakdowns during the antitrust trial also amused me, so there you go.
posted by holycola at 6:54 PM on September 27, 2003


And geez, it isn't like the pharma thing is a slam dunk anyway. How do you both ensure investment in R&D and give away the farm to people too poor to buy the drugs?

The pharmaceutical companies do little more than marketing. The vast majority of actual, real medical R&D is done by university labs and supported by government grants.
posted by PsychoKick at 6:58 PM on September 27, 2003


Cutting down rainforests ruins and kills fewer people than destroying an entire industry.

Bill Gates was accused, tried, and convicted of this. He, through his company, destroyed the computer industry, knowingly, and wontonly for multiple years. He put people out of work. People making no money are FAR more likely to die sooner, for a variety of very obvious reasons. However, forcing someone to move from a rainforest is far LESS likely to kill them.

The man has also done the near basest of crimes (rape and murder being the only I consider less than this): He defiled the constitution of the US by knowingly lying to a court of law. And it wasn't just a little lie, it was a big fat one. Smart enough people laughed at him for even trying it on.

He shoud be jailed three years for that like Kevin Mitnick. All Kevin did was lie to steal some free cell service and play with some code. Bill Gates lies to purposely destroy the jobs of others, ruin companies, ruin people, FOREVER, sometimes without any personal gain (DR-DOS).

Until every last penny is given back, I can never respect the man. I feel nothing but spite and vitriol towards him, and it is very well founded. The decade that has passed and the swarth he has clearcut through the tech industry has not helped. Bill Gates (now Microsoft), to put it simply, doubles the price of my computers, because of his company's deceitful advertising. And I loathe him for that. I despise him like I despised the memory industry in the 1990's. Fortunately, I console myself with the fact that a company is only as strong as its foundations. When Microsoft falls (and it will, like so many other large companies, one day), it'll fall BIG.
posted by shepd at 7:25 PM on September 27, 2003


Ummm...I love windows2000 and for now, its the only OS I'll use. I've used *nux and don't like it nearly as much. Does that make me stupid or evil or something?
posted by jmd82 at 7:30 PM on September 27, 2003


jmd82: I don't think so. I feel the same way. Unix/Linux is still (IMHO) more of a hobby than an operating system - at least with Windows 2000, I can just install it and get some work done. If I could run Photoshop under Linux without having to compile anything, I'd use it.

Re: charitable contributions... I'm willing to give Bill Gates the benefit of the doubt and assume that he doesn't plan out his charitable works in a direct effort to deflect attention from his monopolistic business practices. The way I figure it, at least he's doing something; he could just as easily do nothing. But charitable works don't excuse his business practices, either. It's a separate issue.
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:47 PM on September 27, 2003


He, through his company, destroyed the computer industry

$650 Billion+
$285 Billion=
nearly a trillion dollars!

And I didn't even add the hardware companies. Your claims of "destruction" ring hollow.
posted by trharlan at 8:34 PM on September 27, 2003


Davidmsc: monopolies can only occur when the government is directly involved in an industry, and that a corporation can not directly "create" or become a monopoly.

Armentano makes this point
convincingly in his book, Antitrust and Monopoly.
posted by trharlan at 8:44 PM on September 27, 2003


The pharmaceutical companies do little more than marketing. The vast majority of actual, real medical R&D is done by university labs and supported by government grants.

Quoted for falsehood. Name one single drug approved by the FDA whose profits acrue to an academic lab.
posted by paleocon at 8:59 PM on September 27, 2003


The thing is without Gate's irony and contradictions he stops being human. Come on, tell me you never noticed anything ironic or contradictory in your own actions. And if you haven't I'd say you likely have a rather puny sense of self awareness. So he crushed a few software companies, shook a few hands to ensure market domination, that's the nature of business. God, what's with you people. Every transaction has an underside, in every interaction someone or something gets less than the other. Utopia does not exist, cannot exist. Tell me you wouldn't hire a family member with a little less qualifications over a stranger and I'd say you were a fucker who deserves to be ostracized from your family. Tax breaks for charities works to give assholes without consciences incentive to make donations. XP is excellent. Linux is lame. If i could double my income by charging more for my services, I would; no issue with making 300,000 times my income, and I'd give one f-ing hell of a lot of it away too (and no doubt you bitches would slag me for doing it). Okay, who wouldn't take issue with imprisoned people working for well below the minimum wage. But, though it's an example of someone at Microsoft having very poor ethics, do we know that Bill made that decision? It's a big company. How much do you think Mr. Eeeevil is involved in personnel/human resources related to shrink wrapping "50,000 units of Windows 95 demo disks and direct-mail promotional packets"? -some of your hatred seems so illogical, but then again isn't most hatred illogical? -what's with the mixed metaphor comment?
posted by giantkicks at 9:44 PM on September 27, 2003


Has this turned into a "my OS is better than your OS" flamewar yet?
posted by spazzm at 9:53 PM on September 27, 2003


giantkicks makes good points, I think, and further plenty of businesses use prison labor (here in the US, that is) where none pay minimum wage--why single out MS or BillG?
posted by billsaysthis at 10:20 PM on September 27, 2003


"The pharmaceutical companies do little more than marketing. The vast majority of actual, real medical R&D is done by university labs and supported by government grants."

Quoted for falsehood. Name one single drug approved by the FDA whose profits acrue to an academic lab.


*sigh* That was precisely the point I was trying to raise. The profits for drug sales aren't going to those who truly research and develop those drugs. Which kind of weakens the IP claims of the pharmaceutical companies...
posted by PsychoKick at 12:16 AM on September 28, 2003


Yes, some of you certainly could be satisfied with windows. That's fine, I didn't claim (in this thread) that's it's a subpar OS. It simply does NOT live up to the claims Microsoft marketing makes for it, and is built on a lifetime of pillaged code.

Microsoft blatantly lies that they are working on security, yet this has been one of the worst years ever for worms -- this year bugs in Microsoft OSes have caused entire university networks to halt.

They blatantly lie that their operating system has been internet ready (it's barely been so since windows 2000). They lie about benchmarks. They pressure companies like @stake to fire their CTOs if opinions differ. Worse than all this, they lie about the power and feature availability of their operating system, and, to compound that lie, compare their operating system favourably against others when there's no chance Microsoft's operating system could get within a yard of performance.

But even worse, they won't take tit for tat. They are willing to ruin other companies by offering to decimate them or "compete" (read: trash) with them. Example: Central Point AntiVirus. Ever seen that in a Microsoft OS past DOS 6? Didn't think so. The tit for tat coming in when they force NTFS developers to stick to age old agreements so they can keep a stranglehold on "their" filesystem, and do similar things with SMB developers. They con these smart people (in computers) into working for them, then, once they've burned out, they throw them out like yesterday's trash and won't even let them work in the field they're experienced in.

Then there's the Windows 98SE / Windows 98 debacle. How many of you would feel fine paying $150 for an item, only to find it's full of problems and bugs, and rarely works properly, only to be shocked to hear that less than a few months after, the problems have been fixed, and the manufacturer wants to make a $145 profit from you fixing what they left broken?

Then there's the loss of rights, and the fact that Microsoft completely changes their license agreements from right under you, leaving you with the choice of keeping your system unpatched and useless on the internet, or accepting new agreements that may not even be legal for you to accept! (HIPAA compliance).

We can keep going back in history, it's so sordid. There's rarely a popular Microsoft creation that hasn't involved some serious lawbreaking or flat out lieing. Much of this started with MS-DOS 4.00, which was so broken, it often corrupted itself. That's clearly not acceptable software, when the most basic functions will destroy your data. Then we step up to MS-DOS 6 and the stacker debacle.

After that we find ourselves with windows 3.1 and their mysterious, unecessary anti DR-DOS warnings.

Windows 95 was relatively free of major scathings, likely due to a more relaxed release schedule. We've discussed windows 98, and nobody here would be willing to call WinME an acceptable software. Windows 2000 forces you to break laws to keep your systems secure, and windows XP makes using VNC illegal. I won't even get into how horrid many Microsoft agreements are, requiring you, for example, not to publish pages hurtful to Microsoft using Frontpage.

Linux, QNX, BeOS, OS X, whatever, use it, enjoy it. Just know that when you're using Microsoft software, you're supporting a company that is willing to break laws and (without purpose) put others out of business. An example of this is given above (CPAV) -- considering that windows 95 and on have been the most infected operating systems of all time, why would Microsoft not offer an antivirus built in? It served them no purpose to remove it. It was done out of some hidden, non-economic motive. And that sucks for a corporation.

>And I didn't even add the hardware companies. Your claims of "destruction" ring hollow.

Tharlan, it's the hardware companies that have been hit the worst, though. Do you think it's all that good for hardware companies that there are only two major chip makers? Why is that?

There two partly because at one time they helped each other, and, lucky for AMD, they made binding agreements with each other. Also, because those chips run the OS that Microsoft has illegally made a monopoly.

Excellent advances in computing that could have revolutionized the industry have been snuffed out by Microsoft because they use their monopolistic clout to force them out of business. Example: Digital's Alpha architecture.

Have I driven the point home yet, or do I need to provide more examples? I'm sure I can link to stories on most of these things.
posted by shepd at 3:11 AM on September 28, 2003


Well, I do agree with the monopolies of Microsoft operating systems. Direct X, anyone? I would switch to Linux in a heartbeat if it could seamlessly play any windows based game I have.

But then again, I haven't paid for any operating system since windows 95. Sorry. I don't have any money. Tough for one of the richest men in the United States.

As a sidenote, if I started a business you bet your sweet ass I would pay for any software in the office. Why, you say? If I use it to make money, then it doesnt become a victimless crime anymore.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:13 AM on September 28, 2003


Very few extremely wealthy people give away billions of dollars to fight deadly diseases such as childhood diarrhea, malaria and so on. Bill Gates does. Other billionaires, for the most part, pay for college buildings (as long as the building is named after the billionaire) and underwrite opera companies. An exception is Ted Turner, who pledged a billion to the UN. I think he had to scale back his giving after AOL Time Warner's stock dropped.

Gates could give away his billions on museums and endowed chairs while ignoring the world's poor. He has chosen not to do that. History might judge him as being responsible for preventing more deaths from infectious disease than any other philanthropist in history.

Try putting that in perspective.
posted by Holden at 4:49 AM on September 28, 2003


Try putting that in perspective

Or in context, as a wise man once did:

"As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
posted by niceness at 6:08 AM on September 28, 2003


Good: A rich guy gives a ton of cash to charity, which is going to help people, and work towards curing a disease.

Bad: Said rich guy did some(read: a lot of) bad stuff in the past.

Stupid: For people to assume that all these OS's would have succeeded if not for MS and 'Ultra Evil Bill Gates' destroying them.

I hate to say, but Mr. Gates wasn't a billionaire to start out with, so he didn't base his company on destroying others with financial might. He gained that might because the People bought his product and became dependant on his product. Newsflash, 80% of the people in the world are not briliant, they don't even rank up as real smart. How many regular people would be able to actually understand how to compile when trying to use Linux? Come on. Those OS's are still available, if you want them. He's not preventing people from making the choice. "But what about OEM contracts?" you'll say. Why doesn't Linux or OS X set up any of these contracts? Simply because the computer companies know that people aren't gonna get it. It's hard enough for a lot of people to understand how to use a mouse. So if you want to implicate Ol' BG and MS, why not DELL, Gateway and all the likes?

Oh, while I'm on, MS use of prison labor. From the sounds of the linked articles, it wasn't MS directly going to those means, it was the person they contracted to. Hey, if someone low balled a contract price, I'm gonna take it too. It also sounds that when MS found out about the practices, they stopped using them. So that can't be entirely evil can it? And of Ol' BG in this, do you think he makes every decision in the company?
posted by JakeEXTREME at 7:28 AM on September 28, 2003


ditto weston. Every time I have to spend manhours finding a workaround for an undocumented problem in MSIE, it steals money from my company.

Of course, MS is not alone in this.
posted by moonbiter at 10:45 AM on September 28, 2003


shepd: It's the hardware companies that have been hit the worst, though. Do you think it's all that good for hardware companies that there are only two major chip makers? Why is that?

Two major chip makers?

Try $700 Billion in market cap. Over fifty semiconductor corporations valued at over a billion each!

Piss and moan all you want, and I'm not challenging any of your other claims, but your assertion that Bill Gates destroyed the computer industry is wrong.
posted by trharlan at 12:04 PM on September 28, 2003


Microsoft did not destroy the computer industry; they just made it tedious, boring, and joyless.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:11 PM on September 28, 2003


IT was tedious, boring, and joyless long before Microsofts monopoly. Three letters:

IBM
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:24 PM on September 28, 2003


trharlan: Armentano's idea that Trusts can't form in a free market is incredible. What about the RIAA? Do they not exist? Have they not had a history of price-fixing?

I hardly believe that Armentano's, as an author, opinion on monopolies extend to the government granted monopolies that he uses to earn his living, namely copyright.

He's simply a hypocrite. I'm currently writing composing an email to Mr. Armentano. He he chooses to respond I'll post here.
posted by betaray at 4:32 PM on September 28, 2003


tharlan, I think you know exactly what I'm talking about, your argument is specious. It's like me saying there's only two cola manufacturers and you pointing out Cott, RC, etc. Sure, they're big. Sure, some are approaching the size of Pepsi and Coke. But they have NO CHANCE.

Those other chipmakers haven't a chance at introducing the most major part to the market: A new desktop CPU for the "wintel" market. All those that have tried have failed miserably (cyrix, IDT, VIA, transmeta, NEC).

I assume you agree with the rest of what I've said, as if that's all you disagree with, I'll live with it.

The funny thing is I totally forgot to mention netware and the Mac vs. Windows desktop! We'll leave that for this informative movie, though.

Linux doesn't need to be the alternative, though. There's a lot of other ones out there, many of which (unlike Linux) existed before Microsoft burned them out of business. Thank God Xenix failed, though. Otherwise I'd have no servers, I'm sure.

>I hate to say, but Mr. Gates wasn't a billionaire to start out with, so he didn't base his company on destroying others with financial might.

He didn't? Didn't he start out by underselling Digital Research? Or was I wrong about the whole DOS thing?

>How many regular people would be able to actually understand how to compile when trying to use Linux? Come on.

And how many could understand how to compile something on Windows?

Less than linux, that's for sure. What a PITA that OS is.

Oh, wait, you still think you need to compile things in linux? I suppose you also just delete the directories of programs in windows to "uninstall" applications? Because you're way back in 1993!

>Those OS's are still available, if you want them. He's not preventing people from making the choice.

So, by not opening any specs on information required to make a quality competing operating system and being a monopoly on such information, he's not preventing anything at all?

How many times have I heard "If only this program worked outside windows, I'd switch right now". WINE, and windows emulators would be there RIGHT NOW if Bill Gate's monopoly had been told to open the market. That's what happened to the phone companies. Why shouldn't it happen to him?

>"But what about OEM contracts?" you'll say. Why doesn't Linux or OS X set up any of these contracts? Simply because the computer companies know that people aren't gonna get it.

No, you are so VERY wrong. Did you know that if you set up an OEM contract you aren't allowed to install another operating system without paying for a pre-installed operating system already?

It has nothing to do with people "getting it".

>It's hard enough for a lot of people to understand how to use a mouse. So if you want to implicate Ol' BG and MS, why not DELL, Gateway and all the likes?

Because they make hardware. Back before the stranglehold monopoly, these vendors were happy to install GeoWorks, PC-DOS, DR-DOS, or whatever you liked. Now, to compete, they must sign agreements with Microsoft which half the price of the windows OS. However, in exchange, Microsoft wants a monopoly status on their PCs.

How come when cable companies do the same thing with internet and cable TV people get up in arms about it, but when Microsoft does it behind people's backs in secret, it's ok?

>And of Ol' BG in this, do you think he makes every decision in the company?

It's your job as the president of the company to be aware of all major decisions. Major decisions include where to outsource labour to. If he DIDN'T know about that, then he's not only evil, he's also incompetent.
posted by shepd at 5:12 PM on September 28, 2003


Didn't he start out by underselling Digital Research?

Isn't out bidding other contracts a standard business practice? Don't most companies give business to the 'lowest bidder'? Guess I'm still back in 1993. Also, why doesn't anyone this day and age make something better and undersell MS? Take the short term loss in hopes of becoming the next MS, so your company and name can be spat on and run through the ringers, simply because you do what most all companies want to do, make money.

And how many could understand how to compile something on Windows?

Less than linux, that's for sure


You inadvertently proved my point. People don't want to waste the effort or time to learn such a thing. At the time Linux could have been most damaging to Windows, that's the trouble they had to go through. So I say again, it's the people that allowed it to happen. People wanted his product, companies gave it to them. They had to get in OEM contracts because Windows is what the average person wanted, and that was how to get it cheap.

Because they make hardware

Gateway and DELL make hardware? Since when? They assemble computers, they don't make the hardware. And since I worked for one of the said companies at one point in my life, I can assure you that you could freely install whatever you wanted on the computer. You wouldn't get tech support on it, but that would be the same case if you put Samsung parts in your Sony TV.

If he DIDN'T know about that, then he's not only evil, he's also incompetent

So based on your statement, it's safe to assume that every parent is incompetent too. It's a fact that no one can know everything that is going on in a company or anything for that matter. Too many things happen to be able to focus on every specific thing. That's why they have board members and nannies.

It's kind of sad, ok, it's just plain sad to see people spew about Bill Gates and how evil he is, but no one does a damn thing, except complain. How many of you people that hate MS and BG actually contact system vendors to voice your concerns? Well, it wouldn't matter anyway. Over half the population of the the computer using world doesn't have any idea about Linux. Never knew what GeoWorks was. They probably don't even know that Geo-Works may be the creators of their PDA software. As long as the masses of consumers want Windows, then that's what they'll get. After all, that's what every 'Big Evil Company' is after, the mass market, where the cash cow is.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 8:02 PM on September 28, 2003


>You inadvertently proved my point.

You not so inadvertently missed my point. My point is that compiling stuff on windows is harder. Sorry you missed it.

>Isn't out bidding other contracts a standard business practice?

It is, but normally you do it with a product you've made, not something you've bought from a big-time equivalent of a garage sale.

>They had to get in OEM contracts because Windows is what the average person wanted, and that was how to get it cheap.

So then why do so many people hate it? It isn't hard to find a lot of spite against Windows out there. Why? Because the world is full of masochists?

>And since I worked for one of the said companies at one point in my life, I can assure you that you could freely install whatever you wanted on the computer.

Cool. So, since you worked there, you're assuring me that if I phoned Dell and said I don't want none of that windows trash, they'd do it for me, discounting the machine for the price of windows? WOW! What the hell department did you work for, tech support?

>It's a fact that no one can know everything that is going on in a company or anything for that matter.

Oh man, if you don't know where you're getting your employees from, you are incompetent. Feel free to disagree. I hope you run Microsoft one day, nothing would be better to run them the hell out of business.

>It's kind of sad, ok, it's just plain sad to see people spew about Bill Gates and how evil he is, but no one does a damn thing, except complain.

*WE DID DO SOMETHING*. We, the people, took the man to court, where he lied, over and over, big fat tales. He was punished, and now I get the right to call him a law breaking asshole. And I revel in that.

>How many of you people that hate MS and BG actually contact system vendors to voice your concerns?

Woah man, you haven't been looking for for this, have you? It's like, read the EULA and you're there. WOAH.

You do realise that the Microsoft EULA obligates Microsoft to give you a refund if the software is unused, right? And that Microsoft shirks even THIS. What an ILLICITLY operated company!

>As long as the masses of consumers want Windows, then that's what they'll get.

The same "masses of consumers" wanted Bre-X. Lies and flamboyancy will easily get you sheep. That doesn't make it a good thing.
posted by shepd at 11:09 PM on September 28, 2003


paleocon: At this moment, I am sitting in a research building on the University of California - San Francisco campus paid for with profits from human growth hormone, which Genentech sells. The gene was cloned at UCSF.

There are many, many examples of biotech and pharma companies paying royalties to universities. So it's not all bad, but still it isn't necessarily a "fair" sharing of profits.

And regardless, the original poster was right. Biotech and pharma companies spend more money on marketing than they do on research or development. It's been a while since I've seen the numbers, but I believe it breaks down to about 50% in marketing, about 25% in development (including trials), and only about 10% in research. The rest goes to legal (and some to HR, the twin death knells of all start-up fun). It seems like all biotech and pharma companies have lawsuits pending against all of the others. It's crazy.

Of course, you can't totally blame these companies for spending so much on marketing. Most of the marketing is to the medical doctors. They scare me. It has been my impression that many learn nothing new after school/residency. Many have no idea what new drugs are available or whether they might be a better choice than some other treatment.
posted by justin at 2:24 PM on September 29, 2003


On the evilness of Bill and the naivity of other players I find a quote from Gassee to be warming: "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense." Gassée [former BeOS CEO] "I deserve it."
posted by Mitheral at 5:02 PM on October 1, 2003


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