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How Horrible is Microsoft?

Microsoft isn't All Bad

Business and ethical practices seem to have fallen by the wayside in these days of corporate scandals. Recently there have been several business scandals involving fraud, ethics and illegal business practices. Enron is one example; WorldCom is another. It is sometimes difficult to know whom to trust. Even the ethical practices of Microsoft have raised serious questions in the minds of the consumer. I need to carefully consider the ethical business practices of every company that I am considering for future employment, so I researched the claims against Microsoft thoroughly. Although Microsoft has been found guilty on charges of unethical behavior in retaining a monopoly situation, I ask that you consider a few things before you condemn Microsoft as a completely unethical company. I feel that Microsoft should not stand-alone when we look at the guilty parties in this ongoing debate.

Let us look back to the beginning of the personal computer. According to information found at Processor Emporium website, Intel created their first processor in 1971. However, “It was only when, in 1981 IBM selected the 8086 processor for its new Personal Computer, the IBM PC, did the Intel processor design gain its opportunity to be used widely” (Barrett).  According to the brief history of IBM found on the Digidome website, “The true IBM "PC" was produced and sold in 1981, and though it was not, by far, the first PC, it was regarded as the standard for all PC's because of it's state of the art at that moment. From that time on, every other brand was an IBM-compatible, or a "clone" (Short Company History).

This was 2 years before Microsoft even introduced Windows to the market. From this information, we can safely state that there was competition in the market when Bill Gates, and the team at Microsoft, introduced Windows to the world. So, what happened? I went to the IBM history website to find the answer. Funny thing, the IBM history just seems to skip right over the years between 1981 and 1985 (Documents). This being the case, I will give you my conclusions from the official brief of this case. Microsoft introduced a superior OS in 1983, and IBM, with their OS2, the only competition for Windows at the time, simply dropped out of the race. In fact, it seems that IBM discarded their OS in favor of the Microsoft Windows OS (Jackson). Could this have pushed Microsoft into a monopoly position? Should IBM and Intel share at least a portion of the blame for Microsoft becoming a monopoly in the first place? I believe they should, and as you read these facts, I hope that you will also be convinced to reevaluate your opinion.

I think another portion of blame needs to lie directly with the consumer. The consumer demanded a computer complete with an operating system, and helped create the monopoly Microsoft has become. As consumers demanded faster, more-efficient computers, technology advanced, creating faster processors and computers that were more powerful. The operating system needed to advance as well. Whom did the hardware manufacturers look at to keep up with the advancement of technology? They looked to Microsoft, further entrenching them in the role of monopolist.

I have read the first twenty pages of the official court documents pertaining to the case against Microsoft. From reading this court document, portions of which are included above, I do not believe that Microsoft is the big, bad monster that so many have called them. The facts above show that Microsoft became a monopoly for supplying the consumer demand. In my book, their actions were simply good business.  This argument could go on forever. In fact, it already has. I like Microsoft! I like their products, and I like the way they treat their employees. Finally, yet importantly, Microsoft is at the top of my list for potential employers, and since I no longer have any questions about their ethical integrity, I would love to go to work for them once I get my degree.