Dear Steve

You confess to having brainwashed your children. Nice.  It won’t work, of course.  Children are independent and they’ll do as they damn well please.  You can’t even stop them from doing something that might harm them later (like drugs for example), so banning them from using products and services (like the iPod and Google) which are way better than anything from Microsoft is somewhat risible.

Of course, whether or not brainwashing works, a better solution would be for Microsoft to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Apple and Google.  If Microsoft can make a better product than its competitors then its competitors will go out of business – after all, who would buy a product from a small company if the big one can do the job at least as well?  I’m not even thinking of search engines or music players any more.  I’m thinking of an operating system – Mac OS X (which you have doubtless also banned your children from using).

Windows is a leviathan.  It commands so much market share that anyone buying a computer would be foolish not to buy Windows – unless there was a competitor at least twice as good.  After all, you’d need a damn good reason to throw away compatibility with the world’s most used OS.  Windows has two such competitors.  My favourite is Mac OS X and its feature set goes way beyond Vista but without the precipitous hardware requirements.  Of course, Mac OS X requires you to have a computer made by Apple – but since you’ll probably need a new computer to run Vista anyway, it’s worth considering.

Some people claim that they don’t want to be locked in to a hardware manufacturer (as if being locked into an operating system is any better).  Okay, I can sort of understand that.  I run Ubuntu on my PC.  I find that it’s far more capable than Windows, more secure and (at least as far as I’m concerned) easier to use.  It looks nicer too, to my eyes, and it’ll run on virtually any computer.  It’s free too.

Some people will still object that they need to run Windows programs.  In most instances, of course, they don’t need to.  Open Office is Microsoft Office compatible (and free too), and there are many other applications that can be used in lieu of those written by Microsoft.  On those rare occasions that a Windows program is required, Crossover will run Windows programs natively on either Mac OS or Linux.

So come on Steve, give me one good reason why your kids – or anyone else for that matter – should use Microsoft products? Oh, and ‘because it’s your company’ isn’t a good enough reason!

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