by CIO Staff

The E.U. Makes an Example of Microsoft

Jan 26, 20063 mins
IT Leadership

by Constantine von Hoffman

So the EU is making The Great Satan open its Windows. What strikes me as particularly odd is that they got MS to cough up the source code after threatening to fine the company up to $2.4M a day – or roughly what Mr. Gates leaves on the dresser when he empties his pockets each night. Headline of the day on this one came from well, us: Microsoft to License Windows Source Codsaid the CIO item (since corrected, sadly). What is the Linux source fish?

The Great Satan is apparently tired of being referred to as The Great Satan. Microsoft has announced it is going to spend $120M a year to fight its image as “a huge American company.” The PR push plays up MS’s education and economic development projects in 32 countries. Actor William H. “Fargo” Macy narrates. So to make your company look all soft and cuddly you’re getting the actor who played a guy who had his wife run through a wood-chopper be the voice of your company? Very mixed messages here, folks. Just a suggestion to the fine people of Redmond: Acceptance is the answer to all your problems. Look, you are The NY Yankees of tech. You are IT. You’re the one everyone hates because you win, win, win. The only people who don’t hate you are the ones who love you because you win, win, win. Embrace it. Be The Yankees. It hasn’t hurt them. Let Apple be the Red Sox and have their pitiful one championship every 84 years (says the Red Sox fan). Let Linux be The Cubs who are morally superior because they just can’t win. You are the champs until someone knocks you off, so swagger like it.

And besides, all your good works will just give the opposition conniptions. My favorite tech marketing of the past year was Mozilla’s very funny attempt to rid the web of the scourge of IE via The site mimics the movie poster for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill and then provides 13 reasons for switching, including preventing web designer hara-kiri: “Every year, hundreds of web designers take their own lives rather than continue the hopeless struggle of making their websites IE compatible. Is that what you really want?? Dead web designers????? Cause that’s what you’re going to get!!!!!! See if I care!!!!!!!!!!” 

They were also forced to add: “4. Mozilla doesn’t inflate prices and use the money to vaccinate children in Africa. Uhh… wait a second. Maybe Microsoft’s monopoly hasn’t been all bad. Better donate to Oxfam. Seriously, you should.” Why do you need PR if this is what your enemies are reduced to?

Does anybody know what my wife does? Can you explain it to me? Seriously, she’s involved with something called “the access grid” and “grid computing” and despite her best efforts, I still don’t know what it means. If you can explain this in very small words, please drop a line or post a comment. I don’t bite, honest, unless you’re trying to justify doing business with a repressive, totalitarian regime.

Have any thoughts about this? Want to call me an idiot (there’s a lot of people ahead of you in that particular line)? Post a comment or drop me an email at Anyone wishing to subject themselves to more of my alleged humor should check out my other blog, Collateral Damage, that makes fun of — get this — marketing.