The Motley Fool Discussion Boards

Previous Page

Stocks M / Microsoft Corp.


Subject:  Solving "The Microsoft Problem" Date:  4/6/2000  3:32 PM
Author:  TMFCheeze Number:  28807 of 157206

Everything is clear now. The Judge has ruled, everything is decided, and there is nothing left for deliberation except the consideration of appropriate remedies to correct the damage that has been done, and to prevent any future relapse into, should we say, less-than-optimal behavior on the part of Microsoft.

Yeah, yeah, I know there will be appeals. I don't want to hear from appeals. I'm a solutions guy, okay?

Thing is, The Microsoft Problem is a nebulous thing; it's hard to grasp it in its entirety. Study it closely, and soon you discover that it is a whole miasma of separate and distinct problems, each one demanding a separate solution. I don't want to pretend I have all the answers (I do, but let's let that go for now), but at least I can hope that my proposals can prompt some consideration of a long-term resolution.

Problem: Microsoft represents an unpleasant concentration of geekiness.

Let's face it: we all know geeks, they make a positive contribution to society, and some of us (and we all know who you are) might even be geeks. However, while I embrace diversity in all things human, and I applaud the geek lifestyle, I'm afraid I must admit to a certain unease when I'm confronted by too many geeks all at once. In packs, they're scary. I get uncomfortable when there are too many people who are obviously smarter than I am nearby, guys who tell knock-knock jokes with the word "cosecant" in the punchline, guys who walk around humming in logarithms. It's creepy, frankly, and most of all, I just don't want to be the dumb guy in the room. And neither does society as a whole. It's just too intimidating.

Geeks are like a special sort of human being, sort of the way uranium is a special sort of element. It's okay to have it around in small amounts, but if you get too much of it in one place you're asking for trouble. And bill Gates and his gang in Redmond are like U-235, the geekiest, nastiest sort of uranium that they make atom bombs out of. If you get too much of that stuff in one place, you get a chain reaction, and the whole thing starts to melt down, and then you're in really big trouble.

The solution, of course, is to insert some inert matter into the critical mass, material that in radioactively neutral. Once the control rods, so to speak, are inserted into the fissionable material, the reaction is halted, and things are safe again. Therefore, it is clear that we need to mis the geek population at Microsoft with some decidedly ungeeky people, people who are the least geeky you can find, people who are technologically inert, people who don't use cell phones or design semiconductors or develop information technology solutions for today's dynamic business environment.

I mean, of course, Amish people.

The Solution: Judge Jackson should order Microsoft to hire one Amish employee for every six geeks. The presence of these non-technical people in the geeky Microsoft milieu should temper and ease the dangers of overly-concentrated geek-related meltdown.

Problem: Bill Gates has personality "issues."

You know it, whether you want to admit it or not: Bill Gates is nobody's first choice for a square dance partner or swimming buddy. He's not your obvious pick for a three-day drunken road trip to Tiajuana. Frankly, he is far more satisfying as a combatant in an episode of "Celebrity Deathmatch" than as someone you'd like to share a popsicle with. The problem is not really anybody's fault. It'