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John "Z-Bo" Zabroski

Communism is simply a form of command socialism, it does not accurately describe the tension Microsoft is facing. Pure capitalism also does not describe Microsoft. Nor does anywhere inbetween. Why? Both are attempts to understand the consumer society, albeit in diametrically opposed ways. However, Marx (command socialism) and Smith (pure capitalism) both use the same set of assumptions: they both agree economics can be analyzed based on the usefulness of something, because useful things are what "constitute the substance of wealth" (from the opening of Das Kapital). Adam Smith says approximately the same thing in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations.

What if they are both wrong? When your basic premise is incorrect, a lot of what you have to say probably is a falsehood.

This is the argument waged by Jean Baudrillard, my favorite philosopher... who recently died, March 6, 2007.

You would definitely dig Jean Baudrillard. All the time, you are talking about the power of networks. Baudrillard is often said to draw upon Marshall McLuhan and the importance/effect of mass media on culture.

I think, from a microeconomics perspective, what is effecting Microsoft is what I tried to convey to Chris Anderson on his Long Tail blog (but I don't think he agreed): excessive commoditization will hurt big businesses seeking to directly control the commoditization process. I predict a really bizarre, peculiar effect will take hold of Microsoft, due to their business strategies.

This is all, of course, dismissable as academic non-sense or washroom banter ;-)

Paul Readwin

Buy a Mac, install Parallels Desktop (to run any Windows programs you like) and reduce your stress.

Like you said simple, good enough and web accessible is the rule of the day.

End your Stockholm syndrome so many Windows user seem to suffer from. :-)


Yeah go mac, I use both a mac and a pc. My desktop at home is total DIY with an old athlon1800 with XP, my laptop is a macbook 13inch with parallels. However, just because I have a mac is that I'll never throw this pc away, it's loaded with an infinite number of software titles and is probably gonna stay around in my house like an old dog. Though, have you ever noticed that pc's are just trying to be cooler than they were designed to be? I have to say Mac's are so friggin sexy! I love mine, it feels like a European sports car. My analogy is a very heavy 75lb. woman trying to stuff her heavy ass into leather pants - We'll call her "Vista!"

Mark Sigal

Thanks for the notes, guys. I am typing my response on my brand spanking new MacBook Pro. Hasta la vista, Vista!

Seriously, I stick to my original premise that Microsoft has built an incredible legacy and is collapsing under the weight of that same legacy.

I will continue to have a PC or two into the future, and Microsoft isn't going away, but after my notebook PC finally crapped out for good, the decision to go Mac was an easy one.



John "Z-Bo" Zabroski

I also want a MacBookPro. It's technically superior to Vista. The only benefit of Vista is that Microsoft does a great job providing software developers with tools to write great software. I.e., Windows Workflow Foundation.

Joel Phillips

Why I Hate Russia
by Joel Phillips (publisher, www.religiousfreeomwatch.org; owner American Coast Title www.actfortitle.com and proud to be an American and a Scientologist)

When I was a kid we used to have jump under our desks and hide when they rang the air alarm. The teachers said this was in case the Russians came and bombed us.

Well you know what they bombed us and did a good job of it. They have us doing whatever they say.

First of all they are leaders in religious persecution. They closed down the Scientology Center in Saint Petersburg. Now I suppose the fact that the city used to be called Leningrad tells you something. What other country closes down a church?

But they are hypocrites. They have their own church namely the Russian Orthodox Church. This church is controlled by the Russian government. This is not how you get religious freedom!

Second they are sneaky. My website and company have been attacked by Indonesians. I have listed details on my website including those for a substantial reward.

So what happens? Well it turns out the Russians protect their Internet. It turns out my company which is the sponsor of the www.religiousfreedomwatch.org site is being sued by OOO TRANSTELEKOM. This OOO is apparently like the AOL or Earthlink of Russia but under the control of the Russian government. They are suing because an IP address used by one of these Indonesians is their IP address and I posted it to show how I was being harassed.

They are suing for millions of dollars and they are demanding an apology. I have had to meet with Frank Berriz and Linda Blood about it as they are the other owners of American Coast Title and they are named in the lawsuit.

But they are even sneakier as they are also complaining to Stewart Title who are our underwriters. This could quite literally get us shut down all because I go through life according to my religion.

And, it gets worse. Some Russian radio station has sent press releases to my competitors telling them about this. I don’t even get my day in court with OOO and the Russians have already decided I lost.

But the real trick is they are hiding behind the Olympics. OOO is suddenly the official Internet of the Olympics. OOO says this somehow libels the Olympics.

Maybe countries that value religious freedom should boycott the Russian Olympics again. That will teach them a lesson.

So that’s it. I hate Russia. The teachers way back when were right they had us hide from the Russians. Maybe we should of kept doing that. It is clear the Russians are just going to walk all over us. They are going take away our religious freedom and who knows what they will do after that.

SM Sullivan

Why are you impersonating Joel Phillips of Religious Freedom Watch?
He has put on his website that it has nothing to do with the title company you mention or the other people named Berriz and Blood you keep bringing up.


Hmmm... I've heard this theme somewhere...

Soviet Microsoft: How Resistance to Free Markets and Open Ideas Will the Unravel the Software Superpower


Mark Sigal

Thanks for referencing, James. The post you reference was written in December of last year whereas mine was written in March of last year if wondering on influences.

That said, I have zero thought or care whether roughly drafted saw my post. So much of idea shaping in the blogosphere is derivative by nature.


Will Wagner

Mark, good article. I moved from the PC to Mac a few years back. In that time I have had 3 major upgrades partially kill my iMac. It was a new one, and one 2 of the upgrades happened under Leopard updates. Apple is facing the same feature glut Microsoft is guilty of. It is just that Apple has no excuse for the problems they dig up, where Microsoft, and its 90% installed base on unknown hardware, actually have an excuse. They need to goto Unix like OS X did. Apple needs to get back to basics and make tighter code. To charge more is fine if you really make better products, but Apple has dropped a few pegs lately.

Mark Sigal

Hi Will,

Thanks for the note. To your point, my MacBook Pro crapped out following one of the auto upgrades a year or so ago (although the folks at Apple store went extra mile to take care of me), I have blogged on a number of quirks re iPod touch, despite me loving the platform, and Apple is certainly guilty of squeezing every shekel imaginable from their customers.

In other words, while I am a big Apple fan, it's not like rose colored glasses. In case of Microsoft, though, I have never felt inspiration or soul to their products, but huge respect for the company and its business accomplishments.


Partners in Grime

We are witnessing the unravelling of Microsoft. And their final scream will be Yahoo!


Good article, but some of us are also pretty happy with MFST.
I bought my first and only Mac 1988 or 1989, a cute SE II. It worked wonders and showed what miracles that can be produced by small boxes.

Corporate policy and the $$$$ Apple charged in those days, forced me to go DOS. After a few years it was Windows and I'm still there. I am considered "the neighborhood techie" by many I help, and have configured more PCs and LANs in my free (?) time than I like to know.

I have had very few problems with Windows XP, Office 2003, and other stuff that I've loaded on these machines. The only really unstable product I regularly experience is IE7. It "hangs" far too often, but I like its 'tabbing" and how it handles bookmarks/favorites, so I'm sticking with it.

I keep my PC's lean and try to stay below 50 processes running at any one time. A challange, but doable. The "services.exe" process that is referenced above is at the very monet eating up 6,888K, far below the biggest hog, iexplorer.exe at 158,016K (many times THIS one goes far above 300M).

We consumers thought we were getting faster PCs with faster processors, but much of the productivity gain is eaten up by fancy graphics, overly complex SW the remaining gain is consumed by time to maintain these devices - to ensure that they work as we like them to. So, have we really made any progress?

BTW, my old Mac SE II sits in the closet. 20 years later, it still boots up (with the familiar "bong") and can do some pretty fancy stuff - with only 2MB RAM and a wopping 40 MB hard drive (still not full).

All that said, I am still quite OK with Windows but the new editions of Vista Ultimate and Office 2007 Ultimate will continue to collect dust in the bookshelf. I'm sure that was not what MSFT had planned for them.

harry wolf

Its amusing to compare Soviet Communism to Microsoft, but there the fun ends. Soviet Russia was a period in the history of a large and disparate country. It wasnt a business, and it didnt collapse under its own weight, it simply changed its style of government when the people said 'enough'.

Shame that the people of the USA cant do something similar and try to get democracy back....

Only the USA thought that Soviet Russia was a big issue - most of the rest of us didnt give a damn.

Microsoft's impending collapse can more readily be compared to the impending collapse of the USA, which is being crushed under the weight of its obese population, amongst other things.

Mark Sigal

Hey Per-Ola,

Thanks for the note. I was relatively happy with Microsoft up to NT 4.0. XP was okay but for me, it was Outlook that was the beginning of the end, as it literally swallowed up every resource on my machine.

On some level that may just be the randomness of my machine, my configuration, but the one thing that I have to give Apple credit for is building systems with soul. I have never really felt a spirit with MS products, which is not a requirement, just an aspiration.

I recently wrote a total counter post to this one, which looks at Apple's (seeming) ascendancy.

It is called, "Holy Shit! Apple's Halo Effect."

Here is the URL: http://thenetworkgarden.com/weblog/2008/04/holy-shit-apple.html

Check it out if interested.




So communism died. How about open-source as the true representative of those original principles?
My sentiment is that the pc vs mac discussion is quickly becoming a thing from the past. As a consumer I feel more empowered then ever since I switched to open source.

Mark Sigal

@Patchoro, I disagree that the PC/Mac discussion is quickly becoming a thing of the past in the sense that we've seen no wholesale moving of apps to the cloud or desktop apps that are running on linux or shipping with open source.

That's not to say that in case of Netbooks or the browser as OS crowd that there isn't a niche, but call me skeptical that things are as you suggest if for no other reason that integration between desktop, mobile and media center are somewhat app/os bound.

Appreciate the thoughts.


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